Baby-gift-wrapped ganja had birthday card attached; some of seized stash was likely headed to local schools
Special deliveries from Cyber Monday will soon be delivered then gift-wrapped. But some would-be drug traffickers got a special delivery of gifts that didn’t come from the North Pole put them on the naughty list in the South Pokey.
Nine people who were arrested on drug charges dealing with several pounds of pot that was being delivered through the postal service to an abandoned home on Paulding Road and other locations made their initial appearances in Jones County Justice Court on Wednesday afternoon. Two minors were also arrested, including one who is believed to be a distributor of drugs at local high schools, according to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.
Robert Aguilar, 27, of Ellisville was charged with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, trafficking cocaine and marijuana and possession of methamphetamine in addition to a charge for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
There was a warrant for his arrest on the latter charge when Lt. Robert Little of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Division saw him pass by in an SUV in Pendorff, according to the affidavit that was read by Judge Billie Graham.
Aguilar got out at the Dollar General on Ellisville Boulevard and Little met him at the checkout counter, where Aguilar was buying one-gallon Ziplock bags, Graham said. While Little detained him, he called for backup as he went to talk to the two other occupants of the SUV.
One of the passengers was 25-year-old Sean Clark of Laurel and the driver was identified as Daniel Zeagler, age and town unknown. A digital scale, which is commonly used by drug dealers, was in plain sight on the console of the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
When Little asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, all three admitted there were drugs in the boxes on the back seat. A little more than 8 pounds of marijuana and 2 ounces of powder cocaine were discovered inside the boxes.
Zeagler then offered narcotics agents information in exchange for the right to “go home,” according to the affidavit. He reportedly told agents that Aguilar had been “regularly getting drugs in the mail in Ellisville,” and provided the address of an abandoned home on Paulding Road and the tracking number of the package that was supposed to arrive in the mail the next day. He went to the sheriff’s department the next morning then went with them to point out locations that drugs had been delivered to.
Narcotics investigators put the home under surveillance and that led to the arrest of Phillip Clayton, 39, who picked up the package and hid it under a garbage can at the home he shares with his mother on Paulding Road.
“I stay with my mom in the utility room,” Clayton said during his initial appearance.
He had been on house arrest after getting his third DUI, a felony, and he had “multiple warrants” for failure to comply with the terms of his release. He was charged with trafficking a controlled substance and his bond was set at $10,000, but he won’t be allowed to bail out because of his previous violations.
“I didn’t traffic anything,” Clayton said when the judge read his charges, then later asked, “What exactly is trafficking?”
A search warrant was executed at the drop-off point on Paulding Road and that led to the discovery of more drugs, drug paraphernalia and firearms, according to the affidavit, and more arrests.
Another 8 pounds or so of marijuana — some in “baby shower” wrapping paper with a birthday card attached to it — along with digital scales, three more guns and drug-packaging material were found.
The warrant also led to more arrests.
Christy Gomez, 40, was charged with conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance and her bond was set at $5,000. She also lives in the 400 block of Paulding Road and was living at a residence where packages of drugs were delivered, according to the affidavit. Gomez was also on parole from the Mississippi Department of Corrections after serving a sentence on house arrest on a drug charge, so she will also be held at the jail. She is a mother of three teens, she told the judge.
Candace Hill, 48, was charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. At least three juveniles were in her residence, one of whom was described as a distributor of drugs to students at “several area high schools,” according to the JCSD Facebook page. Drugs and paraphernalia were “visible in all rooms throughout the house.” Hill told the judge that she collects disability. She was fined $1,275 for the three misdemeanors in addition to a $325 fine for contempt of court on a previous charge.
Jackson Short, 20, Logan Myrick, 19, and Malex Jasper, 18, were all charged with possession of marijuana-first offense and fined $425.
Frances McDonald, 45, was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime-misdemeanor after narcotics investigators saw a text from her trying to set up a transaction to purchase “some green” for $40 at the Pendorff Dollar General parking lot. She was also fined $450. An investigator held up the $40 she had out and ready to make the buy and asked her if she wanted to apply that to her fine. “Sure, that’s great,” the mother of five said.
Two of the three juveniles who were found in the home were transported to the Jones County Juvenile Detention Center and one was released to the custody of his or her parents, according to the JCSD Facebook page.
Aguilar deals in another kind of grass for his day job — he’s a landscaper, he told the judge. His bond was set at $35,000.
A handgun was also found in the SUV at Dollar General, and that was a violation of parole for Clark, who had been released from house arrest for a drug charge. He was charged with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and his bond was set at $5,000. He also owes $650 in back fines on misdemeanors dating back to 2012, Graham said.
Narcotics investigators James Stiglet and Jared Lindsey also worked on the case and they have contacted U.S. Postal Inspectors and other federal agencies to look into the source of the shipments, which came from the Brownsville, Texas area.