‘One final continuance’ granted in drug trafficking case

LIMA — A motion made late last week seeking a continuance in the upcoming trial of Lima resident Lashane Liles, charged with multiple felony drug trafficking and possession charges and alleged to have participated in a major drug trafficking operation in 2021, was granted Monday by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed.

Liles was scheduled to stand trial starting next week on drug trafficking and possession charges, along with counts of having weapons under disability and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

In the motion debated during a hearing Monday, defense attorney Mark Miller said he was asking for “one final continuance” based on the “voluminous” amount of video surveillance, text messages and other data involved in the case. Miller cited the seriousness of the charges faced by Liles, saying that the 50-year-old Lima man, if convicted on all charges, “could go to prison for the rest of his life.”

Miller asked for a continuance of 30 to 45 days “so I can provide Mr. Liles with the effective counsel he deserves.” The judge agreed to another extension in the case that has dragged on since 2021, setting a May 21 date for Liles’ jury trial to begin.

Liles is alleged to have orchestrated the delivery of drugs to his Lima home using the U.S. Postal Service. According to testimony at a hearing almost exactly a year ago from Mark Kudley, an inspector for the United States Postal Inspection Service, a home on Orena Avenue in Lima to which Liles was connected was found to receive multiple packages addressed to various people from California. Kudley said one package was intercepted and a K-9 dog detected the smell of drugs which, when tested after a warrant was obtained, were found to contain fentanyl.

On Nov. 5, 2021, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force took custody of a parcel seized at the Lima post office. A search warrant was obtained for the parcel which resulted in the identification of approximately 1.18 kilograms of suspected fentanyl.

On Nov. 8 the task force, with assistance from the West Central Ohio Task Force and the Allen County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, executed search warrants at 512 and 516 Orena Avenue in Lima. Both locations were places linked directly to Liles. Located inside the residences were drug paraphernalia, a parcel containing 1.18 kilograms of fentanyl, semi-automatic handguns and drug currency.

Also on Monday Reed took under advisement defense motions to suppress a search of Liles’ cell phone; to prevent the state from using Liles’ previous criminal history at trial; to deny the admission of text messages as evidence in the absence of credible authentication; and to limit the state’s use as evidence of $2,100 in U.S. currency found in Liles’ home during the execution of a search warrant.