EL?man adds another drug count to record

LISBON – An East Liverpool man who blamed his father’s drug use for his own issues with substance abuse was sentenced to nine months in prison by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam.

Jason M. Garland, 25, St. George Street, East Liverpool, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to drug possession with a forfeiture specification in August. According to court documents, he had .4 grams of heroin in his pants pocket along with $425 believed to have been used in a drug-related offense.

Prior to sentencing, Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble talked about Garland’s long criminal history. According to Gamble, Garland had seven or eight charges prior to his first felony offense in 2007. Since then he has had 10 more criminal charges including this drug possession charge.

“He has shown no indication he wants to stop,” Gamble said, adding Garland has “used, abused, and probably trafficked drugs.” Additionally, Gamble said some of his convictions have been theft offenses in order to support his drug habit.

“The only thing we can do is protect our community,” Gamble said while asking Washam to consider a nine-month sentence.

While defense attorney Jennifer Gorby pointed out Garland has never been convicted of any trafficking offenses, she admitted Garland has several drug possession convictions, which she said shows he is a man with an addiction.

“Drugs have always been apart of my life,” Garland said prior to sentencing. “I’ve never known anything but that.”

He added from the first time he went to prison, he has had no counseling for his drug problems.

There are more problems coming for Garland, who was also arraigned earlier in the day on another group of drug-related charges. The indictment, issued by the Columbiana County Common Pleas Court grand jury in September charges him with three counts of trafficking in drugs, four counts of possession of drugs, a forfeiture specification and tampering with evidence.

According to court documents, authorities allege Garland offered to sell or sold cocaine on both Dec. 18 and 19, 2012, as well as heroin on Dec. 19, 2012. He is accused of having between 10 and 49 grams of heroin in his possession on March 22. On the same day he reportedly had between 27 and 99 grams of cocaine, along with Buprenorphine and Hydrocodone in his possession.

And, the drug possession charges note there is a specification due to Garland allegedly having in his possession $597 reportedly used in drug-related offenses. Additionally, he reportedly attempted to hide or cover-up his drug activity.

A jury trial on those newest charges is currently set for February.