State Briefing

Former Ohio mayor, wife indicted on racketeering charges

NILES, Ohio (AP) — A former longtime northeast Ohio mayor has been indicted on a racketeering charge prosecutors say is related to his involvement in bribery, theft in office and illegal gambling.

A Trumbull County grand jury handed up an indictment Tuesday against former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante, his wife and a Niles city employee. Infante was mayor 24 years before losing last year’s Democratic primary.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says the 61-year-old Infante received nearly $200,000 in unreported cash, income and gifts and ran an illegal gambling house at a tavern he owned in Girard. Sixty-seven-year-old Judy Infante is charged with racketeering and falsifying records. The city employee was indicted on two counts of theft in office.

Calls to a publicly listed telephone number for the Infantes were met with busy signals.

City votes to decriminalize marijuana but it’s still a crime

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — Officials in a central Ohio city where residents voted to eliminate criminal penalties for having small amounts of marijuana say they’ll continue to charge and prosecute violators under state law instead.

This month, Newark voters approved decriminalizing possession of less than 200 grams of marijuana, about 7 ounces. The new law says having that amount is a minor misdemeanor that’s not subject to fines, jail or probation.

But under Ohio law, such marijuana possession remains a minor misdemeanor that could result in a fine and loss of driving privileges.

Newark’s law director says the local law gives authorities an option in pursuing such cases, but they’re not changing their approach.

Supporters of the new law had argued it would allow police to concentrate on the city’s heroin and opiate problem.

Ohio sheriff accused of stealing drugs set to change plea

FREMONT, Ohio (AP) — A jailed Ohio sheriff accused of stealing prescription drugs is scheduled for a change of plea hearing.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer pleaded not guilty in August to six felony charges in a 43-count indictment. The change of plea hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

A special prosecutor charged the sheriff with stealing medications drug disposal drop boxes, deceiving doctors into giving him painkillers and misusing department funds.

A judge recently sent him back to jail after deciding he violated terms of his bond by contacting potential witnesses and people in the sheriff’s office.

The two-term sheriff has said the investigation was politically motivated. He was suspended but kept his sheriff’s title.

Overmyer was in jail when he lost his re-election bid last week.