MIAMI COUNTY — A Michigan man was sentenced to two years of community control on Friday morning after Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) troopers seized 50 pounds of hydroponic marijuana from a vehicle he was driving in January.
Kasheem R. Hill, 26, of Grand Rapids, Mich., pleaded guilty to third-degree felony possession of marijuana in June and was sentenced to two years of community control with a mandatory fine of $5,000 in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Friday.
OSHP troopers stopped a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu with Michigan registration for an improper lane change and a following too close violation on Interstate 75 near milepost 84 on Jan. 24. Criminal indicators were observed and a patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle, according to a previous press release from the OSHP. Troopers uncovered the 50 pounds of hydroponic marijuana — valued at approximately $226,950 — during a probable cause search of the vehicle.
Hill’s attorney Nicholas Gounaris spoke on Hill’s behalf during Hill’s sentencing hearing on Friday morning, noting that Hill had no prior felony convictions.
“This is an offense that I think is completely out of character,” Gounaris said. He added that Hill has a “tremendous support system in place” and was “remorseful” about this incident.
Hill also spoke briefly during his sentencing hearing, apologizing to the state of Ohio and his family for his actions.
In a letter to Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee, Hill wrote that he had been facing financial difficulties when he had been presented with “an opportunity to help a marijuana grower take his plants to a caregiver who would then give them to their patients.” He wrote that as “a medicinal patient myself I understood the importance of needing prescriptions and decided to help with the cause although I knew that there would be risk.” After he was caught with the marijuana, he wrote that he “realized I had made the worst decision of my life and I realized almost immediately that I jeopardized everything.”
Hill went on to write, “It hurt me deeply knowing I let everyone down who believed in me. I realized that I potentially have thrown my entire existence, goals and future away with one mistake.”
In addition to serving community control and paying a $5,000 mandatory fine, Gee also ordered Hill to pay $105 in restitution to the OSHP. Gee reserved 30 months in prison for Hill if he does not successfully complete community control.
“I hope that you work very hard and that this is your last venture with the criminal justice system,” Gee said. “Good luck to you.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org