YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Berlin Center man who is one of 14 people facing federal charges for selling drugs in Youngstown is expected to plead guilty to a superseding bill of information filed against him.
The bill charges Ronald Falkowski, 51, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm and use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug crime.
Falkowski was originally indicted by a federal grand jury in August in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio. The bill of information was filed Wednesday.
The case is assigned to U.S. Judge Benita Y. Pearson.
A bill of information is typically filed in a criminal case in lieu of an indictment when a defendant is expected to plead guilty.
Falkowski is one of 14 people indicted for selling drugs in the Youngstown area. Another co-defendant, Wesley May, 23, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a conspiracy charge. He was the first defendant in the case to enter a guilty plea.
The bill of information charges Falkowski with texting an unindicted co-conspirator Nov. 6, 2021, and Nov. 7, 2021, to arrange a sale of cocaine.
He was also accused of having a .12-gauge shotgun Sept. 7 despite past criminal convictions in federal court for selling court and similar charges in 2011 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court of which he was convicted.
Because he was convicted of those charges Falkowski is not allowed to have a gun.
With the bill of information, the government also filed a notice with the court of Falkowski’s past convictions to prove he is a repeat offender so stricter sentencing guidelines can be imposed on him.
The members of the drug ring are accused of selling heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in Youngstown from August 2020 to January 2021.
The indictment in the case said members of the drug ring used four houses in Youngstown to store or sell drugs, including South Side homes on Lasalle, East Evergreen and Hunter avenues, and a West Side home on Rhoda Avenue.
Undercover buys in the case began Feb. 5, 2020, and continued until Jan. 5, 2022, when search warrants were served.
When the warrants were served, authorities found over $3,400 in cash and materials to store drugs at the Lasalle Avenue home, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle were found at the East Evergreen Avenue, and an AR-15 was found at the Hunter Avenue home of an unindicted co-conspirator.
Investigators also seized about $1,450 cash from a Matta Avenue home on the West Side during their investigation and an additional $1,480 was seized from two other defendants.