YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A federal judge Wednesday reversed a magistrate’s decision allowing a Warren man facing federal drug charges to be free on bail.
Instead, U.S. Judge Dan Aaron Polster ordered that Lynn Williams, 23, of Commerce Avenue NW, be held without bail, finding that “there are no conditions or combination of conditions that can reasonably ensure the community’s safety if Williams is not detained.”
His ruling came after federal prosecutors appealed a June 24 decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp to allow Williams to post $20,000 unsecured bond and be released into the custody of his mother.
Prosecutors immediately objected and filed a motion with Judge Polster to revoke Williams’ bond.
Williams was indicted May 25 on charges of distribution of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime, distribution of fentanyl and tramadol and distribution of fentanyl, fentanyl analogue, tramadol and heroin.
In her motion asking Judge Polster to revoke the magistrate’s bond order, Assistant U.S. Attorney Yasmine Makridis said that Williams is the suspect in the June 11, 2020, overdose death of a woman who prosecutors said bought fentanyl from a man matching Williams’ description at the apartment of Williams’ mother, where he lived.
She said authorities are trying to unlock the woman’s phone before charging Williams with that crime. She said they planned on indicting him on the charges he now faces as well as for the woman’s death. However, they decided to charge him presently because he continues to sell drugs from his mother’s apartment despite being indicted twice in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for selling drugs.
In the federal indictment, Warren Police and the Trumbull Action Group made 11 controlled buys of fentanyl from Williams between Sept. 4, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021. When they searched his mother’s apartment Feb. 10, 2021, police found drugs, a scale, packaging material for fentanyl and a gun.
Makridis said Williams has been on probation and bond and yet he continues to sell drugs, which is why detention is necessary.
“He has evidenced his intent to continue to engage in dangerous behavior, and the opportunity granted him by the magistrate judge is unwarranted,” Makridis wrote.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Alvaro L. DeCola opposed Makridis’ motion. In a motion of his own filed Wednesday, DeCola said that during the time he was accused of selling drugs, he did not leave the area and he still met with his probation officer. He also said that during the numerous alleged undercover drug buys, no law enforcement personnel thought that Williams was a danger to the public.
DeCola also said that if Williams was a danger to the community, law enforcement continued to make alleged undercover buys from him for over 15 months and didn’t seem too concerned. He also wrote the evidence linking him to the overdose death is flimsy, at best.
In his order, Judge Polster wrote that Williams’ mother testified she was unaware her son was selling drugs out of her apartment, and because Williams does not have a job, Judge Polster said “the court can only assume Williams will continue to sell drugs should he remain in the community.”