Columbus man sentenced in heroin bust

MARIETTA – A Columbus man involved in one of the largest black tar heroin busts in Washington County history was sentenced Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to three years in prison – half the time being served by a Vincent man involved in the bust.

Clarence Cage Jr., 55, of 3299 Eakin Road was pulled over March 2, 2012 by the Marietta Police Department after an agent of the Major Crimes Task Force witnessed Cage and 26-year-old Jeffrey Braun of Vincent complete a transaction in a parking lot near the Bob Evans on Pike Street in Marietta.

“Braun was under surveillance by the Major Crimes Task Force. They watched the exchange and they followed both vehicles,” said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

When stopped on Interstate 77, Cage admitted selling drugs to Braun. He had $4,000 in cash and 28.7 grams of heroin in his possession, the street value of which was estimated between $50 and $75 for a tenth of a gram.

Stopped that same night in Beverly, Braun of 1080 Walsh Road had an additional 38 grams of heroin in his possession, worth an estimated $20,000 or more.

Cage was indicted in July on a first-degree felony count of possession of drugs and a second-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs.

He pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to the second-degree felony trafficking charge and faced a maximum of eight years on the charge.

Braun, who was sentenced in May, also faced a maximum of eight years on his second-degree felony possession charge. He was sentenced by Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane to serve six years in prison.

Cage was scheduled to go to trial in November, said Schneider. However, he showed up 20 minutes after the jury had been dismissed, and his bond was revoked until he pleaded in February.

He will receive 107 days credit on his three-year sentence, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth, who sentenced Cage.

“The presentence investigation shows a lengthy criminal history, primarily in Cook County, Ill., and Franklin County, Ohio,” noted Burnworth.

Cage has prior charges for burglary, drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, and delivery of a controlled substance, said Schneider.

Cage was ordered to forfeit $4,042 that was on him when he was pulled over with the heroin.

Cage had initially requested to postpone Monday’s sentencing because he has an upcoming court appearance in Franklin County for a pending third-degree felony charge of drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony charge of drug possession. However, Burnworth denied the request.