An August trial has been scheduled for a former prison convict who used to mentor other prisoners in Marion.
Najmuddeen Abdus Salaam, 46, of Marion, entered a not-guilty plea Friday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court to a charge of possession of drugs and trafficking in drugs, which are first-degree felonies.
He was stopped in Delaware County by troopers from the Delaware post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol on May 15 who said they found what they suspected to be cocaine.
A Delaware County grand jury indicted Salaam on Wednesday.
The indictment also carries a specification stating that Salaam is a major drug offender. Common Pleas Court Judge David Gormley said the specification means that if Salaam is convicted, he will face the maximum sentence of 11 years for a first-degree felony.
Gormley scheduled a trial for Aug. 9. Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Brian Walter said that the trial would last two and a half days.
Gormley also set Salaam’s bond at $150,000 and scheduled a pretrial hearing for July 11 at 8:30 a.m.
Walter said Salaam was being investigated by Marion police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol for several months. Walter said Salaam made 22 trips between Columbus and Marion during the investigation. Walter said that Salaam would go to several homes for a few minutes and leave.
Troopers from the Delaware post 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. Walter said tests determined it was cocaine. Walter added there were about 249 grams of the substance.
After the stop, Salaam was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and trafficking in drugs.
Troopers also report they confiscated three cellphones, two laptop computers and more than $1,000 in cash during the stop.
Walter told Gormley that Salaam was convicted on rape and kidnapping charges in 1991 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.
He was still in the Delaware County jail Friday afternoon.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.