EL man caught with drugs pleads guilty

LISBON – An East Liverpool man allegedly caught with drugs in both 2012 and 2013 pleaded guilty in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

Donald A. Byrd, 40, St. George Street, was initially charged with trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs. According to Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, when police came to serve Byrd with a warrant at Zatta’s Pub on Aug. 3, Byrd had 9.6 grams of cocaine in 14 different individual packets. Court documents state the 14 baggies were in the pocket of Byrd’s shorts wrapped in two larger bags. A third bag reportedly contained some marijuana.

Then on March 26, 2013 when authorities came to serve Byrd with the charges from the previous August, Weikart said Byrd was found with seven grams of cocaine in his coat, along with $229 believed intended for use in a drug-related crime.

In court Monday, Byrd disputed the amount of drugs he was accused of carrying, but he admitted it was between five and 10 grams of cocaine, which would make the charges fourth-degree felonies.

Each of the charges carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison, which could be run consecutively for up to four and a half years. His license could be suspended for five years on each count. Additionally, he could face up to $15,000 in fines.

Sentencing was set for April 21.

In 2011, Byrd had been charged with a possession of drugs, a charge he pleaded guilty to in May 2012 and was granted intervention in lieu of conviction. At that time he was placed on three years probation.