Ex-convict turned mentor charged with drug possession


An ex-convict who used to mentor prisoners in Marion was arrested on Sunday after a traffic stop on U.S. 23 in Delaware County.

Najmuddeen Salaam, 46, of Marion, was in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday after troopers from the Delaware post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol pulled him over for speeding and found him in possession of a white powder substance they believe is cocaine.

Troopers report they stopped Salaam in the area of U.S. 23 near mile post 13 at 8:04 p.m. Sunday for driving 50 mph in a 45 mph zone and for having windows that were tinted too dark.

Court documents indicate that during the traffic stop Salaam acknowledged his windows were too dark and said he was going from Columbus to Marion.

Troopers called for a police dog and a search was performed on the vehicle. When troopers searched Salaam, they said they found a white-powder substance in a plastic bag wrapped in duct tape in his pants. Initial tests determined it was cocaine, they said.

He was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and trafficking in drugs.

He appeared in Delaware Municipal Court on Monday where Municipal Judge Marianne Hemmeter set his bond at $50,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for May 26 at 4 p.m.

He was still in the county jail Wednesday afternoon.

Troopers also report they confiscated three cellphones, two laptop computers and more than $1,000 in cash during the stop.

Salaam was reportedly convicted on rape charges and served 18 years in prison until his release in 2009. Since his release, he has reportedly been involved in speaking on prisoner re-entry into society and ways government and organizations can help. Salaam reportedly began mentoring other prisoners during his sentence at the Marion Correctional Institution and continued after his release.

Marion Police Chief Bill Collins told the Marion Star they had been investigating Salaam for two months and suspected he was smuggling drugs into Marion Correctional Institution. Collins told the Star that Salaam essentially had free rein of the prison and could come and go without being searched.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2016/05/web1_Najmuddeen-Salaam-1.jpgSalaam Courtesy photo | Delaware County Jail

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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