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Man sentenced for role in large-scale heroin drug ring

Published: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 12:29 PM


            Erick Segura
Erick Segura

TROY – A Tipp City man who pleaded guilty to 34 felonies including drug trafficking and money laundering in what prosecutors said was a large-scale operation bringing heroin and methamphetamines into the Dayton area was sentenced today to 10 years in prison.

Erick Segura, 24, pleaded guilty to the charges in March as part of a plea deal with Miami County prosecutors, who agreed to recommend the 10 years.

He could have received up to 109 years in prison after pleading to one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; conspiracy to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity; carrying a concealed weapon; possession of marijuana; possession of methamphetamines; two counts of possession of heroin; two counts of money laundering; and 25 counts of trafficking in heroin.

The sentence was imposed by Judge Jeannine Pratt in county Common Pleas Court.

Segura said he let his wife and children down and knew the day in court was coming since initial arrests in the investigation in 2013.

Erick Segura was among eight people indicted by a county grand jury last year and accused of smuggling large quantities of drugs in Miami and surrounding counties in 2013. Sheriff Dave Duchak said the investigation included execution of search warrants in Miami, Montgomery and Clark counties and examination of documents including bank records.

Four of those indicted were arrested and four remain at large.

Segura relatives – brother Mario Segura, 32, and Erick’s wife, Aleesha Segura, 22 – also were charged and remain in jail. They have pleaded not guilty. Jose Barajas, 34, formerly of Huber Heights, pleaded guilty to four felony charges March 21, as part of a plea deal in which three years in prison was recommended. He will be sentenced May 2.

Erick Segura also agreed to the forfeiture of two vehicles, allegedly purchased with proceeds from drug trafficking. They were a 2008 Chrysler 300 and a 2007 GMC Sierra. NANCY BOWMAN, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Springboro teacher in drug case among ‘most admired and respected’ in district

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 1:02 AM

Springboro teacher, her teen son facing drug charges

Amy Panzeca’s personnel file paints a picture of an exemplary and dedicated teacher.

Nothing foretells her arrest this week on drug charges nor the letter sent Wednesday from her employer, Springboro Community Schools. It stated:

"Effective immediately and until further notice, you are hereby placed on paid administrative leave pending the resolution of your pending legal circumstances."

Her base salary was $72,623 in 2016, according to the Dayton Daily News I-Team's Payroll Project.

RELATED: Police build drug case against Springboro teacher and son by stopping cars in Settlers Walk

Panzeca, 48, and her 15-year-old son were arrested Monday night, and both were in court Tuesday. Panzeca pleaded not guilty to felony permitting drug use and misdemeanor charges of endangering children and contributing to the unruliness of a minor. 

Court documents allege Panzeca allowed the sale and use of drugs, including LSD and marijuana, in her Christman Drive home in Springboro's Settlers Walk neighborhood. 

"She was aware that drug trafficking was going on and was aware that drug use was going on and was aware of that fact for several months," Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said of Panzeca and her son. "This juvenile was trafficking LSD to somewhere between 20 and 30 students, most of whom attended Springboro High School." 

RELATED: Teacher’s home on Christman Drive raided by drug task force

A year before her home was raided in May by a Warren County drug task force, Panzeca received a much different letter from the district. The April 2016 letter was to inform her of a nomination for the prestigious EPIC (Engage, Prepare, Inspire and Challenge) Teaching Award. Nominations come from parents, staff, alumni and community members. Although Panzeca did not receive the award, the letter included in her personnel file stated the nomination "places you among the most admired and respected educators in our district." 

Panzeca first joined the district at Clearcreek Elementary School for the 1994-95 academic year, when she was known by her maiden name Amy Arnold. 

RELATED: Teachers in trouble: 5 times allegations levied at area teachers

Throughout her 23-year career at Springboro Schools, she taught fifth, sixth and eighth grades. She spent the most number of years teaching fifth-graders, most recently at Five Points Elementary School. 

Evaluations showed Panzeca was a highly competent teacher; she had a good rapport with her students; and she planned engaging lessons for her classroom. In July 2003, she earned a permanent teaching license for first through eighth grades by the Ohio Department of Education. 

At different points in her career, Panzeca served as the head junior high cheerleading coach; vice president of the teachers union, Springboro Education Association; and as a mentor teacher. 

>> Warren County Jail mugs

Before she was offered a full-time position at Springboro Schools, the Miami University graduate worked as a substitutue teacher for Springboro Schools and several Butler County school districts, including Fairfield City, Lakota Local and Ross Local schools, according to Panzeca's employment application. 

Springboro school officials said a permanent substitue would take over Panzeca's classroom duties for this academic year, and that parents of affected students were to be notified. 

Panzeca is scheduled to appear Aug. 31 in court.

Police build drug case against Springboro teacher and her teen son by stopping cars in Settlers Walk

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 8:49 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 2:10 PM

Springboro teacher, her teen son facing drug charges

UPDATE @ 2:07 p.m. (Aug. 16, 2017):

Police built a drug case against a Springboro mother and her teenage son by stopping cars that were leaving the family's home in the Settlers Walk subdivision, according to court documents. 

>> MORE: Teachers in trouble: Times when area teachers faced legal questions

Amy Panzeca, a fifth-grade teacher at Five Points Elementary and her 15-year-old son face a series of charges. She is accused of permitting drug use, endangering children and contributing to the unruliness of a minor. He is accused of possession and drug trafficking. Police stopped cars leaving the residence beginning in April in which occupants said they purchased drugs at the Panzeca house, according to a search warrant affidavit written by a Warren County Drug Task Force detective.

Click here for more details on this story.

FIRST REPORT

A fifth grade Springboro Schools teacher, Amy Panzeca, was arrested Monday night at a relative’s home on Sesame Street on charges of permitting drug abuse, child endangering  and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child. Panzeca’s son also is charged in the case.

Panzeca pleaded not guilty to the charges and will be released from jail.

Panzeca was indicted by a grand jury less than three months after a raid at her home on Christman Drive in Springboro by the Warren County Drug Task Force.

>>RELATED: Drug raid at Springboro teacher’s home in May 

KEY DETAILS:

  • Amy Panzeca pleads not guilty to three counts against her
  • Judge releases Panzeca from jail on her own recognizance
  • Panzeca teaches fifth-grade at Five Points Elementary

UPDATE @ 3:26 p.m.:

A 15-year-old son of Amy Panzeca was arraigned today on counts of possession of drugs and trafficking drugs. The male will be detained in the juvenile detention center, according to the court administrator. The boy entered a denial to two counts of possession and one count of trafficking drugs.

He has another hearing later this month. Juvenile court records also show he had a truancy case and his mother was issued a failure to send him to school.

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UPDATE @ 1:24 p.m.:

Springboro fifth-grade teacher Amy Panzeca pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday afternoon on charges of felony permitting drug abuse and misdemeanor child endangering and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.

The arraignment comes less than 24 hours after her arrest after her indictment by a Warren County grand jury.

Panzeca’s attorney asked that she be released on electronic home monitoring.

The judge released her on her own recognizance.

Amy Panzeca, 48, a Springboro fifth grade teacher, pleaded not guilty in a Warren County courtroom during her arraignment Tuesday on charges of permitting drug abuse and child endangering. STAFF PHOTO/Sean Cudahy

UPDATE @ 12:01 p.m.:

A spokesman for Springboro Schools, Scott Marshall, said Amy Panzeca has been placed on paid administrative leave. The district is calling parents of children assigned to her fifth-grade class to start Thursday. A substitute will now lead the class. Panzeca has been a teacher in the district for 15 years.

Springboro teacher facing drug, child endangering charges enter plea

UPDATE @ 11:33 a.m.:

According to the indictment handed down by a Warren County grand jury, Amy Panzeca allegedly permitted drug abuse between May 6 and May 19, 2017.  A second count of permitting drug abuse states the crime occurred between Jan. 29, 2017 and May 19, 2017. The child endangering and contributing to the delinquency of a child charge stems from alleged activity between April 1, 2017 and May 19, 2017. No other details of the alleged crimes are described in the indictment. 

UPDATE @ 11:18 a.m.:

Amy Panzeca’s home at 40 Christman Drive was raided by members of the Warren County Drug Task Force on the evening of May 19, 2017.

At the time officials would only tell our reporter the raid was part of an ongoing investigation. 

Click here for more details on the raid. 

UPDATE @ 10:33 a.m.:

District spokesmanScott Marshall said Panzeca has been with the school district for about 15 years, and she's not had any past disciplinary issues. 

They found learned about the allegations against the teacher Monday night, and they quickly hired a substitute, who will be in place for the upcoming Meet the Teacher event this week, Marshall said. 

Springboro teacher Amy Panzeca was arrested at a relative's home. STAFF PHOTO

FIRST REPORT:

A Springboro teacher has been arrested on charges of permitting drug abuse and endangering children.

Amy Lea Panzeca, 48, was arrested on Sesame Street in Springboro on Monday evening, according to Warren County Jail bookings.

Panzeca is a fifth-grade teacher at Five Points Elementary in the Springboro Schools district, according to the 2017-18 staff list.

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Springboro spokesperson Scott Marshall said the district had just learned of Panzeca’s arrest.

“It’s under police investigation, so there’s not a whole lot we can say,” he said.

>> Warren County Jail Bookings

Marshall said Panzeca is on paid leave effective today. A substitute will be covering the classroom.

Parents will be notified of her arrest through a letter and phone call.

>> Miami Valley’s Most Wanted

The counts against Panzeca in Warren County Common Pleas Court include two felonies and two misdemeanors. The permitting drug use charge is a fifth-degree felony while endangering children and contributing to the unruliness of a minor are first-degree misdemeanors.

The case was handled by the Warren County Drug Task Force. The Springboro Police Department was listed as an assisting agency.

Drunken driver runs over ‘Report Drunk Drivers’ sign

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:04 PM

Drunk Driver Runs Over ‘Report Drunk Drivers’ Sign

One California driver seems to have taken a highway sign far too literally.

>> Read more trending news

In a Monday Facebook post, California Highway Patrol said a man has been charged with DUI after crashing his Jeep into a sign reading, “Report Drunk Drivers” on Wednesday morning along State Road 1 near Aptos, California.

Related: Florida man accused of DUI hits ‘don’t drink and drive’ patrol car

KSBW reported thatStephen DeWitt, 57, was seriously injured after the Jeep he was driving lost control just before noon, hit the sign, ran up the banked side along the highway and landed upside down in the road. 

DeWitt, who one officer said was “quite intoxicated,” was flown to a trauma center.

The crash had a lane closed for an hour.

County to pay $375k in jail pepper-spray lawsuit

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 7:42 PM


            A video image shows Amber Swink after she was pepper sprayed while in a seven-point harness in an isolation room at the Montgomery County Jail.
A video image shows Amber Swink after she was pepper sprayed while in a seven-point harness in an isolation room at the Montgomery County Jail.

Montgomery County officials have agreed to pay $375,000 to settle a federal civil lawsuit brought by a woman who was pepper-sprayed by a corrections officer while strapped into a restraint chair at the Montgomery County jail, according to Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck.

Heck disclosed the dollar amount of the settlement, but said other details were still being worked out.

Amber Swink, 25, filed suit in September 2016 alleging civil rights violations, violations of jail policy and claiming an attempted cover-up because jail-video of the incident disappeared from county records.

RELATED: Montgomery County sheriff’s office sued over pepper spray incident

Swink’s attorney, Douglas Brannon, said the federal civil rights lawsuit was settled Wednesday after a private mediation run by former Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Joe Bressler.

“I can officially tell you that it’s an amicable agreement,” Brannon said. “I can tell you that Amber is happy to be moving forward with her life at this point.”

Brannon said Swink is currently finishing the MonDay drug treatment program.

RELATED: Woman at center of pepper spray lawsuit ordered to rehab facility

Swink was pepper-sprayed by Judith Sealey in November 2015. Sealey was then a sergeant in the jail but has since been promoted to captain.

After video of the incident became public, Sealey was suspended pending an assault investigation but returned to duty when a Montgomery County grand jury declined to bring charges.

RELATED: Sheriff’s captain not indicted in jail pepper-spray incident

Court documents show that the incident led jail personnel to be investigated by U.S. Dept. of Justice’s civil rights division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dayton police department.

After the grand jury declined to bring felony charges, Dayton police then presented the case to Dayton city prosecutors.

Assistant city prosecutor Andy Sexton said Thursday that the case was presented to the city, but that another entity would be deciding whether to bring charges in Dayton Municipal Court. Sexton declined to name the other entity.

REPORT: Multiple agencies probe jail pepper-spraying, grand juries convene

Swink was being held in the jail because of an incident that night in which she was accused of assaulting a police officer. She pleaded guilty later to that charge and was ordered to rehab in April after failing to comply with the terms of her sentence.

Sheriff Phil Plummer did not return a message seeking comment.

Swink’s lawsuit was one of several recent suits against Montgomery County Jail staff. Some of the other plaintiffs are represented by Brannon.

“We’re going to continue moving forward on each and every one of those other cases,” Brannon said. “We’ll diligently try to resolve those cases, either through the court or through settlement, whatever happens first.”