MARIETTA - A Columbus area man said he was ready to accept his sentence Tuesday for running an indoor marijuana growing operation in Washington County.
James M. Mayle Jr., 53, of 3933 Three Rivers Lane, Groveport, pleaded guilty March 11 to a third-degree felony count of illegal cultivation of marijuana. He was arrested in July while visiting a Cutler residence where authorities found 97 marijuana plants and six pounds of processed marijuana.
Asked if he would like to make a statement before his Tuesday sentencing in Washington County Common Pleas Court, Mayle said, "No your honor. Only that I accept your decision and the judgment of the court."
The 1495 Clark Road home where authorities found the growing operation belonged to Mayle's daughter. While the home was under surveillance in June and July, agents from the Major Crimes Task Force witnessed Mayle entering and leaving the property on multiple occasions.
When agents executed a search warrant they found an elaborate indoor marijuana growing operation, including fans, flex ducts, potting soil, plant food, lighting, a drying room, and other tools used to produce and process marijuana, said Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings.
Mayle was ordered to forfeit all of that equipment, said Rings.
Mayle was sentenced based on an agreed disposition, but raised concerns at the beginning of the proceedings that an error in the presentence investigation report would change the agreed upon sentencing.
"There is an inaccuracy in the sentencing report. Instead of having three prior felonies convictions, it is only two," said Mayle's Columbus area attorney Toki Clark.
Mayle told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth that he has a receiving stolen property conviction and one conspiracy to distribute marijuana conviction. A felony conviction in Franklin County was inaccurate, he said.
"The court accepts your recollection but either way it's not going to impact the court's decision today since this is an agreed disposition," said Burnworth.
The sentencing agreement included 180 days in the Washington County Jail, 19 of which Mayle has already served. He was also sentenced to three years of community control, fined $5,000, and ordered to forfeit the Suzuki vehicle he had been using the travel to the Cutler residence.
"I see he has the title with him," said Burnworth, as Mayle handed it to his attorney.
Mayle did ask for leniency on the 180-day license suspension Burnworth issued pending Mayle's release from jail.
"I would like to remind the court I'm a class A (truck) driver. I drive for a living so it's very important that I be able to retain my driving privileges. I know that some sort of suspension is required but is there any way I could get work privileges?" he asked the court.
Burnworth said it was his understanding that the suspension was mandatory and the court did not have the option to grant exceptions. However, he allowed that if Mayle's attorney could find a statute that said otherwise, he would consider the request.
Mayle had faced a maximum of three years in prison on the third-degree felony charge.