by Dave O'Brien
RECORD-COURIER STAFF WRITER
Ravenna -- A Cuyahoga County man caught with illegal synthetic drugs during a raid on a Streetsboro business last winter will attend court-ordered drug treatment instead of doing jail or prison time.
Brendan W. Ryan, 29, of North Olmsted, was granted drug treatment in lieu of conviction by Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman at his sentencing hearing Nov. 5.
Pittman found that Ryan's crime -- possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony -- met the criteria for treatment in lieu of conviction. He was found to be drug dependent by a certified addiction specialist; drug abuse was a factor in the crime, and Ryan has no prior felony crimes on his record, said Pittman.
Pittman said Ryan must attend a qualifying treatment program, do outpatient care, use no drugs for at least one year, attend three addiction recovery meetings per week for a year and find a home group and sponsor to have his charge vacated and the case closed.
Ryan pleaded guilty to the charge in September. He was caught in possession of the illegal, synthetic hallucinogenic drug known as "bath salts" during a raid by the Portage County Drug Task Force on the Twilight Boutique at 9334 Route 43 in Streetsboro on Feb. 14.
Ryan's arrest, the raid on that business and two others in Kent followed a one-month investigation by the drug task force.
Bath salts, which causes effects similar to those of methamphetamine, and other drugs known as "synthetic marijuana" were banned in Ohio in 2011.
Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch. Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or firstname.lastname@example.org