Jury finds Paulding County man guilty

A jury found a Grover Hill man guilty Wednesday in Putnam County Common Pleas Court here of three highlevel drug-related charges.

David Ranes, 53, was found guilty of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony; illegal manufacture of drugs (methamphetamine), a second-degree felony; and illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine, a thirddegree felony.

Judge Randall Basinger revoked Ranes’ bond and sentencing was scheduled for a future date, according to assistant Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Todd Schroeder. Ranes faces a potential maximum prison term of 22 years.

He was indicted by a Putnam County grand jury in November.

The drug charges alleged that he manufactured methamphetamine and assembled chemicals for its manufacture at a barn in rural Putnam County. Ranes also allegedly engaged in a criminal enterprise with two or more persons on two or more occasions.

Seven co-defendants who had been indicted by the same grand jury in November testified against Ranes. (Two co-defendants did not testify.)

Co-defendants who entered pleas to charges in Putnam County Common Pleas Court not long before the trial began will be sentenced at later dates, with the more serious charge against them (engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity) to be dismissed.

Ranes’ attorney, William Kluge of Lima, suggested in closing arguments Wednesday morning that Ranes’ co-defendants pointed the finger at his client as the main maker of the methamphetamine after reaching plea deals with the prosecutor’s office. But Schroeder called this a “misrepresentation,” as some of the co-defendants had implicated Ranes beforehand.

The co-defendants said they (along with Ranes) had purchased the drug pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) — a key ingredient in the making of methamphetamine — and provided it to Ranes. Some of the purchases were made in Defiance.

Although Kluge acknowledged that multiple purchases of Sudafed were made, he argued that the state produced little evidence showing that any methamphetamine was actually made. Schroeder countered by noting that the co-defendants testified to receiving methamphetamine in exchange for helping Ranes purchase Sudafed while a jar was also confiscated containing methamphetamine.

Kluge declined to call any defense witnesses to the stand, including Ranes, after Schroeder rested the state’s case Tuesday afternoon.

Following Wednesday’s verdict, Schroeder said the case is “an example of how manufacturing of methamphetamine can spread,” as some co-defendants began using the drug or trying to make it.

Ranes has had three prior felony drug convictions in Defiance, Paulding and Putnam counties in the last two decades.

He was convicted in 2001 in Putnam County of attempted illegal manufacturing, a third-degree felony; and convicted of two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, each a fifth-degree felony, in Defiance County Common Pleas Court in 2008.

In 2009, he also was convicted in Paulding County of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, and sentenced to a three-year prison term.

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