Justice finally caught up with Michel L. Ross. It seems Ross had entered a guilty plea to three felony drug charges then skipped out before his sentencing hearing. That was three years ago. Now he will have plenty of time to think about whether it is wise to miss your sentencing hearing or not since he will spend the next 30 years in prison.
Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall sentenced Ross, 43, of Columbus, to 30 years, fulfilling the court’s March 2013 warning to Ross as to the consequences of not appearing at his July 9, 2013 hearing.
Ross was indicted by the Scioto County grand jury after a search warrant was executed on his business, Judah’s Jams, located on 11th Street in Portsmouth. Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said drug officers seized large quantities of bath salts and controlled substance analogs, also called synthetic drugs.
A designer drug is a structural or functional analog of a controlled substance that has been designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug, while avoiding classification as illegal and/or detection in standard drug tests.
Kuhn said Ross also sold counterfeit clothing, music and movie DVDs, all of which were part of the racketeering charges which spanned October through December 2011.
On March 22, 2013, Ross entered a plea of guilty to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (the Ohio version of the RICO statute), conspiracy to traffic in drugs and funding of drug trafficking and was to serve 10 years in prison. The court accepted the plea but postponed Ross’ sentencing hearing so that, while out of jail on bond, he could attend his son’s birthday party before going to prison. It was at that agreement that the court warned Ross that he faced 30 years in prison if he violated the conditions of his bond and did not return for sentencing.
In spite of the court’s warning, Ross did violate the conditions of his bond when he failed to appear for his July 9, 2013 sentencing hearing. He remained on the run until he was arrested after using a false name when he was booked into the Cuyahoga County Jail on separate charges. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office notified the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office who then returned Ross to Scioto County. Ross was convicted of fraudulent identity in Cuyahoga County and awaits trial on other charges in Franklin County.
Ross was indicted by the Scioto County grand jury for failure to appear for his sentencing hearing and faces up to 18 months on that offense. Ross also has felony convictions in Clak County, Hocking County and Franklin County.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.