Facing 8 years, man no shows

LISBON — One of the principal players in a Cleveland drug ring operating in Columbiana County failed to show up for his sentencing hearing on Monday.

As a result, the $100,000 bond posted by Jermaine Jackson was ordered forfeited and a warrant for his arrest was issued by county Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike, who set his new bond at $200,000.

Jackson, 46, of Garfield Heights, and four other family members were among the 102 people indicted last November as part of Operation Big Oak, a joint effort between state and local law enforcement to disrupt the drug network that operated between Cleveland and Columbiana County.

Jackson, 46, had been free on bond since pleading guilty in April to charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity between July 2014 and August 2017 by selling heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, carfentanil and marijuana in the county and possessing firearms despite prior felony convictions.

The Garfield Heights resident also pleaded guilty to corrupting another with drugs by providing Josh Gallimore with fentanyl last July that Gallimore overdosed on. Gallimore was revived by Michaela Sue Reardon, who was among the 102 indicted as part of Operation Big Oak.

The Ohio Attorney’s General’s Office, which is prosecuting the cases against the Big Oak indictees, had recommended Jackson be sentenced to eight years in prison. Public defender James Wise advised Pike that Jackson has since filed a motion on his own asking to withdraw his guilty plea, and Jackson also indicated he wants to hire his own attorney.

Wise also said Jackson had called him Monday morning to say he was on his way and would be late, and the court also received a similar call from Jackson. Pike waited 25 minutes before revoking Jackson’s bond and ordering he be arrested for failing to appear at the hearing.

As for the motions to withdraw his plea and hire an attorney, Pike said they will address those issues once Jackson is apprehended.