July 25, 2016

Partly sunny

Hinckley Township man faces drug ring charges

AKRON — A Hinckley Township man is one of 18 men indicted on charges of running a large-scale drug ring that brought marijuana from Las Vegas to Akron.

According to an indictment unsealed in federal court Tuesday, Edward E. Steinbacher, 45, of 949 Center Road, conspired to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. He also is charged with traveling in interstate commerce to promote marijuana trafficking and possessing 873 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute it.

He’s expected to be arraigned April 29.

Three other people allegedly associated with the drug ring were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Fourteen others from Akron, Norton, Copley and Arizona also were charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

The indictments are a result of an investigation by several federal, state and local departments, including the U.S. attorney’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI.

According to a federal affidavit, federal agents received an anonymous complaint in July 2009 that several individuals in Summit County were involved in a drug ring that was headed by Robert L.

Donahue, 33, of Clinton in Summit County. Investigators monitored Donahue’s business, Bob’s Lawn Care on Manchester Road in Akron, using a pole camera overlooking the company grounds.

On March 17, the camera observed Steinbacher drive his motor home to the business to meet Donahue and another man.

The investigators approached the building while the men were on the premises. Thirty-eight bales of marijuana, most of which weighed between 22 and 25 pounds, were found in Steinbacher’s motor home, the affidavit said.

Federal court records show Steinbacher was arrested March 21.

Donahue faces conspiracy to distribute marijuana charges and money-laundering charges.

Mike Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s Northern District of Ohio office, said all but one of the 18 defendants has been arrested.

“These defendants brought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs into Akron,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District. “They sold this poison on our streets with one motivation — to make money.”

Steinbacher’s attorneys, Andrea and William Whitaker of Akron, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.