Columbus man sentenced on drug charges in Marietta

Photo by Michael Kelly Taashan Smith, right, and his attorney, Adam VanHo, listen Wednesday morning as Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Kerenyi sentences Smith to 30 months in prison.

MARIETTA — A Columbus man was sentenced Wednesday morning to two-and-a-half years in prison by Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Kerenyi.

Taashan Smith, 44, entered a guilty plea in early June to two drug charges. Smith was arrested in October at the Red Roof Inn and charged with four counts – aggravated possession of heroin, possession of heroin for trafficking, aggravated possession of meth and possession of meth for trafficking. The plea involved dropping two of the charges, and Smith’s court appearance Wednesday involved only the charges connected with heroin, both third-degree felonies.

Kerenyi in pronouncing sentence read out a long list of prior convictions dating back to 1993, most related to drug possession and trafficking but also including illegally carrying a concealed weapon and probation violations. The judge said he agreed with the sentencing request from Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham, who said Smith showed no remorse and seemed not to acknowledge he’d done anything wrong. Graham asked that Smith be sentenced to 30 months.

Smith was arrested in the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn on Pike Street on Oct. 6, 2017, by Marietta City Police and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, who had come to the hotel with a warrant to search his room. Smith and a companion, Sommer McBee, were detained in the parking lot while getting into a car, according to an account by the sheriff’s office.

A search of the car disclosed a duffel bag containing a digital scale, a few bags of meth, some ecstacy pills and one bag of heroin. The heroin weighed in at 6.39 grams.

Smith at the time was on probation related to a conviction for possession of cocaine, heroin and LSD, a concealed weapon and drug paraphernalia, Kerenyi noted at the sentencing hearing.

Smith’s attorney, Adam VanHo of Hudson, said his clients does accept responsibility.

“He’s cooperated with authorities, he didn’t try to run when he was arrested and he’s continued to report to his parole officer,” he said. “He’s here with his mother and girlfriend. We’re asking for a lighter sentence.”

“You have not responded to previous sanction, you’ve shown no remorse, you’re not less likely to commit future crime,” Kerenyi said to Smith. “There is a high risk of re-offending.”

Kerenyi told Smith he would receive 18 days credit for time served, and noted that $3,250 in cash seized during his arrest would be forfeited and given to the Major Crimes Task Force.

Smith was taken away in handcuffs to start his sentence.

VanHo said afterward he thought it was a fair sentence given the schedule of charges against his client.

“There were several strikes against him, but he stepped up and admitted it, didn’t try to run or anything,” he said. “There was no evidence he was selling locally, he was preparing (the drugs) for someone else to sell.”

Smith, he said, is getting support from his family in Columbus, including his girlfriend and mother, who drove him down from Columbus and were present at sentencing.

Smith had been working as a car detailer while out on bond awaiting sentence, he said.

Kerenyi imposed a $5,000 fine and gave Smith four years after his release date to pay it. Smith also will have to pay court costs but has the option to clear those through community service.