Meth Bust Second Largest In City History

Zackiel L. Fields, left, and Ernest C. Cauley

The seizure of 2 pounds of methamphetamine by the Jamestown Police Department earlier this week is believed to be the second largest in city history.

The significant bust, though, further fuels proof that more drug users locally are seeking the highly addictive stimulant than other narcotics. In 2016, Jamestown police seized 10.8 pounds of meth, a large portion of which is being manufactured in Mexico and trafficked into the country.

This year officers have confiscated 3.04 pounds of meth, 2/3 of which was found in a traffic stop Tuesday at the corner of Hazeltine Avenue and Baker Street. Two men, 26-year-old Ernest C. Cauley and 22-year-old Zackiel L. Fields, were charged with felony second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and more charges are pending.

Just how significant was the find? Police say the drug’s street value is between $35,000 and $90,000, depending on how the meth is broken down, packaged and sold.

Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department said Tuesday’s seizure, conducted by members of JPD and the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, was the result of an ongoing investigation into the illegal sales and trafficking of drugs in the city. He couldn’t comment further on the bust, citing an ongoing investigation, but noted that police have seen an increase in meth use locally over the last few years.

“It seems to be taking over the drug trafficking,” Samuelson told The Post-Journal. “It’s at the forefront now. Instead of dealing with heroin, we are mostly seeing meth now. That’s the trend we have been seeing.”

Samuelson noted that the potency of meth has increased as more is brought in from Mexico compared to any product manufactured locally. Its increased availability — in addition to its addictiveness — have likely attributed to more meth-related arrests than in the past.

In terms of quantity, Jamestown police have seized more meth than heroin in the last two years. Only marijuana and cocaine is obtained more often.

“Meth is everywhere,” Samuelson said. “It’s available and it’s very addictive. It has no boundaries either, meaning all ages are affected, and it’s easier to get and to use.

“It’s literally ruining the lives of individuals and their families,” he continued.

The largest bust in Jamestown occurred in August 2016 when police charged Juan Pacheco for reportedly possessing more than 7 1/2 pounds of meth. In a raid of a South Main Street residence, officers also located almost $140,000, 20 pounds of cocaine and 5.5 pounds of marijuana. In all, more than $2.4 million worth of narcotics were seized.

Pacheco and 36-year-old Andrew Garner were indicted in March on federal drug charges for last year’s bust. Prosecutors allege the men received the drugs from California that were smuggled from Mexico.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for Pacheco and 10 years for Garner.

Samuelson, meanwhile, said he hopes the latest seizure and charges are a deterrent for other drug traffickers.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who are trafficking this product into our area,” he said. “The number of incidents and weights of the seizures are staggering for our small community. We as a community cannot allow this to continue.”

Anyone with information regarding sales of drugs in the city is asked to contact the task force at 483-TIPS (8477) or through the JPD Tips 411 cellphone app. All tips are kept confidential.