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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2008

Man sentenced to 1 year in prison on drug charge

An Albanian native who was stopped on the Ohio Turnpike in Lucas County in July with more than 100 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to a year in prison.

Erjon Ruci, 28, of Naperville, Ill., also faces deportation upon his release. He entered an Alford plea Sept. 16 to one count of trafficking in marijuana.

Judge James Bates questioned Ruci about how much money he was paid to transport 104 pounds of marijuana valued at $4.7 million. Ruci responded that he was to be paid $1,000.

One thousand dollars may sound like a lot of money to some people, but it doesn t sound like a lot to me to jeopardize everything you ve worked for to become a citizen, Judge Bates said. Ruci responded that he recognizes that his actions were stupid.

Ruci was stopped July 1 by the Ohio Highway Patrol on the turnpike near the Toledo Express Airport-Swanton interchange for a traffic-lane violation.

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