Salem meth suspect asks judge for help with addiction

LISBON – A Salem man charged for allegedly having a methamphetamine lab in his apartment admitted to having a drug problem on Thursday in Columbiana County Municipal Court.

Christopher S. Neiswonger, 42, West Pershing Street, Salem, was arraigned by video from the county jail on Thursday morning on two felony charges of illegal cultivation and possession of chemicals. He has been incarcerated since Monday when police charged him with domestic violence. He was arraigned on that charge on Tuesday.

On Thursday an additional misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was also added to the list of allegations against Neiswonger. Police reportedly had found him hiding inside a home in the 600 block of Fair Avenue and ordered him to show himself. When he refused and resisted arrest, police reportedly tased him.

With the new charges, Judge Mark Frost also elected to increase Neiswonger’s bail from $100,000 cash surety to $250,000. A request by Neiswonger for a court-appointed attorney was granted, and an Oct. 17 preliminary hearing was set for the felony charges.

At one point, during the hearing Neiswonger spoke up about the issue, which led to the felony charges.

“I want to put it on the record, I need help with drug addiction your honor,” Neiswonger said.

The Columbiana County Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Salem Police Department were all involved in a search warrant executed at Neiswonger’s apartment on Monday. There authorities reportedly found equipment previously used to create meth and the chemicals required to make meth in the future.

He faces between three and 19 years in prison on the two felony meth-related charges alone. The charges are first and second-degree felonies.