Preble County, Ohio Prosecutor's OfficeMartin P. Votel, Prosecuting Attorney

Arizona Man Convicted of Possession of Marijuana

Published on December 1st, 2015

Summary

Jacob Blatchford of Tuscon, Arizona, has been convicted of Possession of Marijuana in the Preble County Court of Common Pleas and will received a sentence of eight years in prison.

Jacob Blatchford, age 34, of Tuscon, Arizona, was convicted by a Preble County Jury on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, after a two day jury trial in the Preble County Court of Common Pleas. Blatchford was convicted of “Possession of Marijuana”, a felony of the second degree (2925.11(A)(C)(3)(g)), and “Possession of Criminal Tools”, a felony of the fifth degree (2923.24(A)). Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gractia S. Manning represented the State of Ohio at the trial, with Travis Kane of Mulligan and Associates, representing the Defendant, Judge David N. Abruzzo presiding.
Blatchford was arrested by Sgt. Shaun Smart and Tpr. Mike Mahaffey of the Ohio State Highway Patrol on November 24, 2015. The Defendant was traveling from Tuscon, Arizona to Michigan in a Ford F350 with an attached 28 foot enclosed Featherlite trailer when he was stopped in Preble County on I-70 for traffic violations. After Blatchford related, among other things, that he was a welder by trade, had been out of work for a month but was traveling across the country to bring an “excavator boom” to his brother in Michigan to be made into a tractor pull sled, a drug detection canine was walked around the vehicle and alerted to the presence of narcotics. A probable cause search, which involved cutting into the steal boom arm with a plasma torch, revealed a sophisticated false compartment containing 156 pounds of Marijuana wrapped in multiple bundles. Blatchford also had almost $6,000.00 in cash in his wallet.
After the jury’s verdict was returned, the Court remanded Blatchford to the Preble County Jail where he is being held without bond pending sentencing. The sentencing hearing in the case, along with a hearing regarding forfeiture of Blatchford’s truck, trailer, and almost $6,000.00 in cash, will be held in the Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. Blatchford is facing a mandatory prison term of 8 years, along with a mandatory fine of at least $7,500.00, and up to $15,000.00, and a driver’s license suspension of at least 6 months. Blatchford is also facing up to one year on the felony of the fifth degree “Criminal Tools” charge.

Prosecuting Attorney Martin P. Votel: The Ohio State Patrol did an excellent job in this case. The 156 pounds of marijuana was concealed inside the structural steel of the “boom arm”, and the arm had been welded closed and repainted. An officer without the training and experience of Trp. Shaun Smart very likely would have sent this load down the highway without further investigation. Any time law enforcement can confiscate a large amount of dope before it ends up on the streets and in the hands of school-aged children, the community is well-served.