Former Marion prison mentor indicted by grand jury


An ex-convict who used to mentor prisoners in Marion was indicted Wednesday after drugs were found on him during a traffic stop on U.S. 23 in Delaware County on May 15.

Najmuddeen Abdus Salaam, 46, of Marion, was indicted by a Delaware County grand jury Wednesday on a charge of possession of drugs and trafficking in drugs, which are first-degree felonies. He was stopped by troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol on May 15 who said they found what they suspected to be cocaine.

The indictment also carries a specification stating that Salaam is a major drug offender, which means he could get additional prison time if he is convicted of charges, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

An arraignment was set in Judge David Gormley’s court for at 2 p.m. today.

Troopers report they stopped Salaam in the area of U.S. 23 near mile post 13 at 8:04 p.m. May 15 for driving 50 mph in a 45 mph zone and for having tinted windows that were 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, troopers said.

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

He appeared in Delaware Municipal Court on May 16 where Municipal Judge Marianne Hemmeter set his bond at $50,000.

He was still in the county jail Thursday 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.

Salaam Courtesy photo | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

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

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