What started as a shoplifting incident ended with a Hamilton man being sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000 Tuesday by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Pater.
Jason D. Fields, 33, was sentenced for aggravated drug trafficking, a first-degree felony, and the other charges, possession of drugs, tampering with evidence and theft were dismissed.
Pater called the five-year sentence “pretty light” considering Fields’ criminal behavior.
“That is bad conduct,” Pater told Fields.
Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kraig Chadrick said Fields drove to Dayton to buy drugs with the intent of selling them for a profit near the Kentucky and Tennessee border. He bought the methamphetamine for $200 an ounce with buyers in Kentucky and Tennessee paying $2,000 an ounce.
“Drugs are a business,” said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.
He said Dayton, because of its proximity to Interstate 75 and Interstate 70, is a “junction” for drug deals. Drugs purchased in Dayton are more valuable in rural areas where distribution is more difficult, Gmoser said.
Fairfield Twp. police were called Feb. 8 to Walmart, 3201 Princeton Road, on a report that two people, Fields and Crystal Baker, 39, were stopped for shoplifting, according to a police report. When police questioned Fields he allegedly placed stolen batteries and a large bag of crystal-like substance near a wall in the loss prevention office.
Fields allegedly stole $72.48 in merchandise and Baker $72.49, according to the police report.
When Fields was searched in the police station, officers found 150 grams of methamphetamine in his buttocks. Fields then began to “nod off and on” and medics gave his narcan, the report read. He admitted to police he had taken fentanyl.
When police searched the cruiser that transported Fields from the store to the police station, they discovered a crystal-like substance all over the seat. The drugs were sent to the Miami Valley Crime Lab and they weighed 153.6 grams.
As Fields was led out of the courtroom by Butler County Sheriff Office deputies, Pater told him: “Stay out of Ohio.”