EL man gets 5-year sentence for trafficking, possession

LISBON – An East Liverpool man who reportedly threw a bag containing a variety of drugs and money down a stairwell while running from police, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday by Judge Scott Washam of the Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Jason Garland, 25, Sophia Street, who also is known as Waddles, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of trafficking in drugs, four counts of possession of drugs and one count of tampering with evidence with a forfeiture specification for the $597 believed used in drug-related offenses.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, the drug trafficking charges dealt with Garland selling cocaine and heroin in the Giant Eagle parking lot in Salem to a confidential informant on both Dec. 18 and 19, 2012.

The other charges occurred when East Liverpool patrolman Fred Flati noticed Garland walking on Market Street on March 22, 2013. Knowing there was an indictment pending for Garland, Flati attempted to catch him.

Garland ran up some stairs in an apartment and Flati deployed his Taser, causing Garland to fall. As he fell, Garland threw a bag which contained the drugs – cocaine, heroin, buprenorphine, hydrocodone and marijuana – and also cash down the stairs where a co-defendant in the case, Samantha Crawford, allegedly grabbed it.

According to police, Crawford also ran from Flati, but was caught after tossing away the bag. K-9 officer Axel later found the bag, police said.

When it was analyzed the bag reportedly contained 10.8 grams of heroin, 32.4 grams of cocaine and both buprenorphine and hydrocodone, which were the four possession charges.

Defense attorney Richard Hura said Garland requested immediate sentencing, expressing a desire to get past these convictions and move on with his life.

The five-year sentence will be served consecutively with a nine-month sentence Garland is currently serving for a drug possession conviction for having .4 grams of heroin in his pants pocket along with $425 on May 23, 2012.

Crawford, 27, Sophia Street, East Liverpool, is currently facing four counts of possession of drugs and a tampering with evidence charge in relation to the incident.