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Trial date set for former Salem Zoning Board chairman facing drug charges

BRENTWOOD - A trial date has been set for Salem's former Zoning Board of Adjustment chairman who was arrested last year for allegedly selling oxycodone pills to an informant working with police.

Prosecutors also filed a witness list this week in their case against Ronald Giordano, who resigned from his elected seat after his arrest last December. Giordano is scheduled for trial in Rockingham County Superior Court the week of Jan. 7.

Giordano allegedly sold more than 100 pills to an informant working with Salem police within a three-week period between last Dec. 11 and 29, according to prosecutors. It's unclear whether Giordano will ultimately take his case to trial or try to broker a plea deal.

Prosecutors filed a witness list this week in superior court, notifying the court of who could be called to testify at trial. Potential state witnesses include two workers at the state forensic laboratory, Salem police Det. Michael Bernard, Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten and a confidential source who is not named in court records.

The defense has filed no pre-trial motions challenging evidence in the case.

Police said they learned about Giordano's alleged drug activity through their informant. Bernard said in a sworn affidavit he kept the informant under surveillance while he met with Giordano and bought the pills from him at a parking lot on North Broadway in Salem.

The informant made subsequent purchases from Giordano at his home days later, according to police. Investigators gave the informant marked currency to buy the drugs and seized the pills from the informant after the alleged transactions, police said.

Investigators said they later recovered the marked money from Giordano and seized $6,000 in cash from his home.

Giordano remains free on $10,000 cash bail. He faces conspiracy to commit sale of a controlled drug, violation of the controlled drug act and two counts of sale of a controlled drug.

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