Fares sentenced to at least 3 years for dealing bath salts

A local business owner authorities believed was the area's main supplier of bath salts will spend
a minimum three years and 30 days in prison.

Ahmad Fares, 27, of Ontario was sentenced Wednesday in Richland County Common Pleas
Court on charges of possession of drugs with a forfeiture specification and conspiracy to commit
felonious assault. He pleaded guilty Sept. 5.

The possession charge stems from an incident in November 2011, when the METRICH
Enforcement Unit seized 5,300 containers of bath salts with a street value of $212,000. Before
bath salts were banned, Fares sold them at his store, the Lexington Avenue Drive-Thru.

Fares was arrested on the second charge in June after an Ohio Highway Patrol investigation led
to an accusation that he tried to have an inmate assaulted for informing on him in the bath salts

Prosecutors asked for a six-year prison term on both charges. Eleven years was the maximum.

On Wednesday, co-defense counsel Jerry Thompson noted Fares operated his own business and
had no previous criminal record.

“He was enrolled at Ashland University in the economics business program, was on the dean’s
list and was a member of the American Business Honor Society,” Thompson said. “He has been
cooperative, contrite and knows how this has affected his family.”

Co-counsel James Mayer III said Fares would use his prison time wisely and wanted to apply for
judicial relief because of his background and lack of record. Fares apologized to the community
and his family while taking responsibility for his actions during the sentencing.

First Assistant Prosecutor Brent Robinson said Fares could have been charged with a first-degree
felony, but cooperated with authorities in a bribery case against a former police officer.

Henson sentenced Fares to a mandatory three years in prison on the drug possession charge and
consecutive 18-month terms for conspiracy to commit felonious assault. He is eligible for
judicial release after three years and 30 days in prison. The judge also fined Fares $7,500 and
ordered him to forfeit a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, valued at $70,000, and $1,402 in cash.

“Instead of living your life according to standards, you lived your life according to American
television — if you can get by with it it’s OK, if somebody rats on you, you take them out,”
Henson admonished him.

Four family members sat quietly through the proceedings, showing little emotion. Afterward,
they had no comment.

“They’ve been through a lot on this,” Mayer said.

Originally published in the News Journal on November 1, 2012.

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