Restaurant owner charged with receiving kilo of cocaine

The owner of Big Momma’s House of Chicken and Fish was arrested and charged Thursday with receiving a shipment reportedly containing a kilogram of cocaine.

Steven L. Smith, 45, last known address 314 N. 10th St., was charged with possession of cocaine, a first-degree felony.

According to court records, the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force did a controlled delivery of the package to the restaurant, located on North 11th Street, Thursday afternoon.

Ohio HIDTA is a multi-jurisdictional task force which examines incoming and outgoing packages being shipped.

About an hour after the package containing about one kilogram of cocaine was delivered, a car driven by Smith left the restaurant, according to court records.

The vehicle was stopped and the package was found in the back of the vehicle.

Officers received a search warrant for Smith’s residence and located “evidence of cocaine processing, including cocaine cutting agent, mixing tools and a cocaine press,” according to court records.

Smith will likely face additional charges when the case is presented to the grand jury. His current charge carries a mandatory maximum prison sentence if convicted.

Smith appeared for a bond hearing Friday in Licking County Common Pleas Court. Magistrate Matthew George set bond at $400,000.

Lt. Paul Cortwright from the CODE task force said this was the only large shipment they had been made aware of through HIDTA.

“It’s very unique because we haven’t seen powder cocaine like this in quite some time,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed against others.

Newark police assisted with the traffic stop.

Smith opened Big Momma’s House of Chicken and Fish in October.

Court records show Smith has prior felony convictions for domestic violence, complicity, aggravated trafficking in drugs, trafficking in marijuana and drug abuse.

Published by Newark Advocate

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