Former Ohio FF pleads guilty to charges linked to death of FF-medic

Joshua Cleland faced felony charges after Liberty Firefighter-Paramedic John Beard died of a fentanyl overdose

By Leila Merrill

WARREN, Ohio — A former firefighter pleaded guilty Thursday to charges linked to the 2020 overdose death of a fellow firefighter, the Tribune Chronicle reported.

Joshua Cleland, 43, pleaded guilty to amended charges of attempted possession of drugs with a forfeiture specification and attempted tampering with evidence. He also has a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

Cleland was arrested on drug charges in the death of Liberty Firefighter-Paramedic John Beard in 2020. That led to a drug investigation into the department. Cleland, who had been a lieutenant, Lt. Justin Graham and Capt. Chris Olson were pushed out of the department. 

In 2020, a Trumbull County Coroner determined that Beard died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, WFMJ reported.

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