Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Findings. This Council finds that persons selling illegal drugs engage in behavior that is readily recognizable by citizens and law enforcement officers as illegal drug activity that the offenders commonly attempt to frustrate law enforcement efforts by carrying the illegal drugs in their mouths, and swallowing or attempting to swallow the drugs if approached by a law enforcement officer. This Council further finds that the drug-related conduct prohibited by this section constitutes a nuisance, adversely affects the quality of life in the neighborhoods of the City, and threatens the public health, safety and welfare.
(b) Offense. No person shall engage in the following conduct in, on or about any street, in or about any place open to the public, or in or about any public or private place with the specific intent to engage in drug-related activity contrary to any of the provisions of RC Chapters 2925 or 4729 or Chapter 607 of these Codified Ordinances:
(1) To repeatedly stop, beckon to, attempt to stop, or engage passersby in conversation; or
(2) To repeatedly stop, beckon to, or attempt to stop motor vehicles by hailing, waving arms or making other bodily gestures; or
(3) To act as a look-out; or
(4) To transfer small objects or packages for currency or any other thing of value in a furtive fashion which would lead an observer to believe or ascertain that a drug sale has or is about to occur; or
(5) To carry small objects or packages in one’s mouth and to transfer such objects or packages to another person for currency or any other thing of value, or to swallow or attempt to swallow the objects or packages if approached by a law enforcement officer.
(c) Prima Facie Case. A prima facie case may be established by a law enforcement officer’s observations of the offender’s behavior. The seizure or recovery of illegal drugs shall not be a prerequisite to establishing a prima facie case.
(d) Rebuttable Presumption. A person shall be rebuttably presumed to have the specific intent to engage in drug-related activity contrary to any of the provisions of RC Chapters 2925 or 4729 or Chapter 607 of these Codified Ordinances if the person persists in one (1) or more of the behaviors described in division (b) after a law enforcement officer gives the person reasonable warning to desist, and the person:
(1) Is a known unlawful drug user, possessor or seller as defined in division (e) of this section; or
(2) Displays the physical characteristics of drug intoxication or usage, including dilated pupils, glassy eyes, slurred speech, loss of coordination or motor skills, or needle tracks; or
(3) Is identified by a law enforcement officer as a member of a gang or association which has as its principal purpose illegal drug activity.
(e) Definition. For purposes of this section, a “known unlawful drug user, possessor or seller” means a person who, within the knowledge of the arresting officer, either:
(1) Has been convicted in any court within this state, within five (5) years prior to the date of arrest, of any violation involving the use, possession or sale of any of the substances referred to in RC Chapters 2925 or 4729 or Chapter 607 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976, or any substantially similar laws of any political subdivision of the state; or
(2) Has been charged two (2) or more times, within one (1) year prior to the date of arrest, for a violation involving the use, possession or sale of any of the substances referred to in RC Chapters 2925 and 4729 or Chapter 607 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976, or any substantially similar laws of any political subdivision of the state.
(f) Severability. If any provision of this section or the application of it to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect the other provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.
(g) Penalty. Whoever violates the provisions of this section is guilty of engaging in prohibited drug- related activity, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. No. 1163-95. Passed 6-19-95, eff. 6-28-95)