Niles man gets over 6 years in federal prison on gun, drug charges

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The charges stem from a June arrest at a Cleveland bus station

Ridge Bryant, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The attorney for a Niles man sentenced in federal court Wednesday on drug and gun charges said in a sentencing memorandum his client moved from Cleveland because of the violence, only to become enmeshed in violence in the Warren area.

Ridge Bryant, 25, was sentenced to about six-and-a-half years in prison by U.S. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio after pleading guilty Nov. 10 to charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The firearm charge is the third time Bryant has been convicted of the charge. He was also convicted in 2015 and 2018 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. Court records do not state what underlying offense Bryant was convicted of that made him prohibited from owning or being around a gun.

A criminal complaint against Bryant was filed in September after an arrest late June 3 at a bus station in Cleveland. An affidavit said Drug Enforcement Administration agents got a search warrant to search Bryant’s luggage when he got off a bus.

Investigators say Bryant spotted law enforcement and tried to run, but they caught him. When agents searched him, they said they found 500 grams of cocaine in his pockets but nothing in his luggage.

Agents questioned Bryant and he admitted taking a bus to El Paso, Texas to bring a half kilo of cocaine back to the area, the affidavit said.

Bryant told agents there were two guns at his High Street home in Niles along with a scale, but no drugs, the affidavit said.

Bryant gave agents permission to search his home where they found two 9mm handguns. Bryant said one of the guns belonged to a person who also made the trip with him. That person has not been charged.

Bryant’s lawyer, J. Reid Yoder, wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Bryant was raised by his mother in a rough neighborhood and grew up without a father. At a young age, his mother moved the family to Warren because their neighborhood in Cleveland was too dangerous.

Bryant began smoking marijuana in his early teens, and abusing alcohol and using hallucinogens at 16. He is also the father to a 10-year-old daughter, Yoder wrote.

Yoder wrote that Bryant wants to come out of a prison a better person so he can better care for his daughter, saying he will take advantage of any educational programs he is offered while serving his sentence.

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