By Frank Lewis
A Detroit, Mich., man will spend the next eight years in prison after being convicted on drug charges.
James Deandre Crocker, 34, was found guilty by Scioto County Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha, III, in a bench trial, of trafficking and possession of heroin, trafficking and possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence.
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said on Feb. 12, 2013, Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Mike Ervin stopped a Michigan rental vehicle for a traffic violation. During the stop, Ervin said he received differing information from the driver, Crocker, and his passenger, Dicey Deselle, as to the passenger’s identity and how the two knew each other.
Upon further investigation, Ervin said he learned that the passenger had illicit drugs hidden in her vaginal cavity. Both were arrested and transported to Post 73 of the OSHP, where Lieutenant Karla Taulbee recovered nearly 50 grams of heroin and over 50 grams of cocaine from the female passenger, Deselle. Ervin testified the drugs were worth over $13,000.
In a surprise move late Friday afternoon Crocker waived his right to a jury trial and asked Harcha to decide his guilt or innocence. The case proceeded to trial on Monday as Ervin, Taulbee and other OSHP employees testified for the prosecution. The critical evidence for the prosecution came from Captain David Hall of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office. Hall testified as to conversation between Crocker and others concerning drug activity.
Kuhn, who represented the state in the trial, said - “This case shows the continuing efforts by law enforcement and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to investigate cases against drug dealers using young women to transport drugs on the highways.” Kuhn also credited Hall’s testimony when it came to proving the aiding and abetting aspect of the case against Crocker.
On announcing his verdict, Harcha ordered Crocker to serve eight years and ordered him conveyed to the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Crocker remains lodged in the Scioto County Jail pending transport to a state institution. He is also being held on a parole holder from the state of Michigan on an earlier aggravated robbery and weapon charges. Charges are pending on Deselle.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.