Criminal Complaint Details Shipment Of Meth From California
The brown cardboard box weighing almost 5 pounds cost $63.20 to ship from Los Angeles to Fredonia.
The 15-inch by 12-inch “ReadyPost” box was addressed to a woman living at 18 Wisteria Drive. The package, however, never made it to its final destination after it was intercepted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and found to contain more than 2 pounds of a white crystalline substance testing positive for methamphetamine.
The discovery — detailed in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo — led to the arrests of Jamell Trapp and Marcus Bowman, both 27-year-old Fredonia residents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Trapp was a member of a multi-state drug trafficking organization suspected of moving large quantities of methamphetamine into the Jamestown area.
The criminal complaint was filed the same day “Operation Meltdown” was detailed to the media Tuesday at Jamestown City Hall. Joseph Karaszewski, criminal chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, announced federal indictments for several local residents tied to the narcotics trafficking investigation dating back to November 2017.
In all, 16 people were charged and more than $300,000 worth of methamphetamine was seized.
Investigators learned methamphetamine being trafficked into Jamestown originally came from Mexico. The drugs were shipped to California where it was packaged and sent through the U.S. Postal Service to Fredonia.
At the center of Operation Meltdown was Trapp, who federal prosecutors said was a member of a “multi-state drug trafficking organization” that moved large amounts of methamphetamine from Fredonia through the Jamestown area.
It was with this knowledge that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service obtained a search warrant June 15 after intercepting the package addressed to Trapp’s home. It wasn’t the first time prosecutors said Trapp used the mail to ship drugs. On Dec. 29, 2016, Trapp reportedly received 7.9 ounces of methamphetamine and 15.13 ounces of marijuana in a package delivered from UPS.
Tapp was charged in the incident and sentenced to probation.
According to the criminal complaint, after postal inspectors found the methamphetamine earlier this month, an electronic transmitting device was inserted into the package with fake product.
On Monday, around 2 p.m., a postal inspector posing as a mailman attempted to deliver the package to Trapp’s address.
Prior to the delivery, officers with the Jamestown Police Department and other agencies set up surveillance around the Wisteria Drive home.
No one reportedly answered when the postal inspector knocked on the door. Shortly thereafter, “Agents observed Bowman exit the residence and run through the apartment complex parking lot, making several circles, appearing to be looking for the mailman and the mail truck,” the criminal complaint states.
Bowman eventually received the package after meeting the postal inspector in the parking lot. About two minutes later, the transmitter “emitted a high-frequency signal that alerted … members of the investigation team that the parcel had been opened.”
The criminal complaint states as police attempted to enter the home, Trapp and Bowman tried to push the door shut. Both were eventually taken into custody.
A search of the home turned up a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. Due to a May 2017 guilty plea to second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said Trapp was prohibited from owning a firearm.
Both Trapp and Bowman told police they knew nothing of the package before it was opened. They were each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine. Trapp also was charged with possessing a firearm.
Patricia Astorga, assistant U.S. attorney who is handling the case, said the operation will help police further track the methamphetamine from the source.
“The investigation is ongoing at the California target, but the package that originated in California (and sent to Fredonia) gives us some good leads as to the source of the supply, namely Jamell Trapp … who was the main target in terms of supply to the Jamestown area,” Astorga said at Tuesday’s press conference.