Man takes deal that dismisses charges against wife in pot-growing case

A Rocky Ridge man charged with growing marijuana in his home accepted a plea deal Thursday that will cause the same drug case against his wife to be dismissed.

Jake Ruttschaw, 37, pleaded guilty in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court to one felony count of possession of drugs and one misdemeanor count of child endangering.

His sentencing is at 1:30 p.m. June 25. He faces up to three years in prison, 180 days in local jail and $11,000 in fines.

Ruttschaw also forfeited $1,312 Ottawa County Drug Task Force agents found in the home in the 1300 block of North Main Street during an Oct. 7 search.

During the raid, authorities also seized 124 marijuana plants of varying sizes and 2,668 grams of processed marijuana, task force Agent Carl Rider said.

“Anything that has over 100 plants is a pretty significant indoor operation,” task force Agent Don St. Clair said.

In exchange for Ruttschaw’s plea, the prosecutor’s office agreed to dismiss the case against Melissa Ruttschaw, 35.

“It was justified based on the facts and circumstances of the case,” Ottawa County Assistant Prosecutor Joe Gerber said. “I think it’s a good resolution.”

Attorneys for the couple — Howard Whitcomb of Port Clinton and Spiros Cocoves — were not available for comment.

The Ruttschaws faced the same charges: one felony count each of cultivating marijuana, possession of drugs, possession of criminal tools and child endangering.

As part of the deal, two of the charges against Jake Ruttschaw were dismissed, and the child endangering charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

The Ruttschaws were scheduled to have a hearing on Thursday regarding their attorneys’ request to throw out the evidence task force agents and law enforcement officers found at the home.

Instead, Jake Ruttschaw agreed to the deal and changed his plea.

Agents obtained the search warrant for the home after a confidential informant working for the task force bought marijuana in Rocky Ridge from Austyn Underwood, 19, Rocky Ridge, according to Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office records.

The informant met Underwood, who told him to meet him behind a church, records show. Meanwhile, Underwood stopped at the Ruttschaw home and met the informant a few minutes later, records show.

He then sold the informant marijuana, according to prosecutor’s office records. Agents believed Underwood got the drugs from the Ruttschaw home, Rider said.

Underwood was at the home with the Ruttschaws when the task force executed the search warrant, and agents found marijuana on him, records show.

Underwood was charged in December with selling marijuana to the informant and having marijuana during the raid, Rider said.

He faces two felony counts of trafficking in drugs and one misdemeanor count each of possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is scheduled for a plea change at 8:30 a.m. May 19.

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