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Judge rules in favor of Norwalk police

Cary Ashby • Updated Mar 10, 2016 at 1:21 PM

A judge has ruled that Norwalk police detectives had the right to search a safe or similar storage units for drug paraphernalia.

In early February, Detective Sgts. Seth Fry and Jim Fulton, of the Norwalk Police Department, testified in an evidence-suppression hearing in Huron County Common Pleas Court. Detectives and the special response team entered a Marian Drive residence about 4:15 a.m. April 10 and seized 10 to 20 grams of suspected crack and powdered cocaine, 50 grams of uncut heroin and almost $900 in cash.

“The warrant for 13 Marian Drive was a non-consensual entry,” Fry said from the stand.

Chief Dave Light broke down Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway’s ruling and the search warrant for the Reflector

“On the front page of the search warrant itself and on the front page of the affidavit for the search warrant, both (documents) requested permission to search safes, lock boxes and anything else — safe deposit boxes, the whole bit,” Light said.

“We searched it and found it and the key to the lockbox was in the defendant’s pocket, so in a nutshell the defense attorney was trying to throw up a smoke screen,” he said.

Defense attorney Geoff Oglesby submitted a motion about suppressing evidence in the case against his client, Adewale A. Olaniyan. The 39-year-old Norwalk man is charged with one count each of possession of heroin and possession of cocaine and remains out on bond. Olaniyan has waived his right to a speedy trial.

Fulton, in February, testified that police recovered a closed, metal lock box in the Marian Drive bedroom. Jeremy Draper, investigator for the county prosecutor’s office, used a key to open it.

“The box to my knowledge was locked. … Everything was inventoried and seized right there,“ Fulton said from the stand.

“I know we had a right to do what we did,“ Light said Wednesday.

“We know we did the right thing, so we waited and let the judge rule on it. The judge ruled in our favor and cited case law to support what we did,” the chief added.

The other Norwalk residents who were arrested during the April 10 drug bust were: Olaniyan’s 41-year-old brother, Andrew; Kristie L. Denney, 40; and Burl F. “Frank” Staley, 39. Their arrests capped off a three-month investigation.

Andrew Olaniyan is serving four years in prison for possession of heroin. At the same time, he will spend nine months for selling heroin during a May 20 controlled drug buy near a school.

Olaniyan forfeited about $387 seized by police and must reimburse the agency $40 for drug testing.

Staley, during a Nov. 10 plea hearing, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in exchange for prosecutors dismissing one count of permitting drug abuse. He faces a 60-day discretionary jail sentence during his three years of probation. Staley, whose driver’s license is suspended for six months, must reimburse police $40 for drug testing. He also was fined $500.

Denney goes to trial April 12 on permitting drug abuse.

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