Salem man pleads guilty to drug charges
A Salem man making meth and growing marijuana in his East Eighth Street home last December pleaded guilty to seven drug-related charges in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
Nathan E. Steer, 27, pleaded guilty to illegal assembly or possession of the chemicals to manufacture drugs, illegal manufacturing in drugs, cultivation of marijuana and four counts of possession of drugs, along with forfeiture specifications. Steer reportedly had $162, which was used or intended to be used in a drug-related offense.
Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said he will request a four-year and nine-month prison sentence for Steer, along with $20,000 in fines and a five-year license suspension. Some prison time is mandatory for the second-degree felony manufacturing of meth charge. Steer is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 31.
Armed with a warrant for Steer for failure to appear, sheriff's deputies went to Steer's home on Dec. 29, finding drug paraphernalia on the counter and smelled a strong odor of marijuana. A subsequent search on a warrant revealed bottles and jars where meth was being cooked in an upstairs bedroom, along with 13 plastic bottles in the trash, which were found to have previously been used to cook meth. Additionally, marijuana was found growing in the basement.
Gamble said various prescription drugs were also found when the home was searched.
In late July, Judge C. Ashley Pike heard testimony and arguments by Steer's defense attorney, James Lanzo, who had filed a motion to suppress the drug evidence found in the house, claiming the search was improper. On Aug. 11, Pike had denied the motion to suppress.
A jury trial had been scheduled on Wednesday, but Steer instead elected to plead guilty to the charges.