Drug trafficking trial of Lima man gets underway

LIMA — What started Monday morning as a jury trial for a Lima man charged with multiple drug possession and trafficking charges quickly morphed into a trial to the court before jury selection ever began.

Jaquaveius Harvey, 30, at the last minute opted to have his case heard solely by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser.

Harvey was indicted in October 2020 on three counts of trafficking in heroin and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, each felonies of the first degree. He was also charged with a third-degree felony count of trafficking in heroin.

In April of 2021 a grand jury indicted Harvey on five third-degree felony charges: obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, possession of a fentanyl-related compound, possession of heroin and having weapons under disability.

Investigator Aaron Montgomery, who coordinated four controlled drug buys as part of his role with the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force, testified about the use of a confidential informant in those drug purchases. His testimony followed that of the confidential informant himself.

Montgomery said controlled buys were executed on Feb. 19, 2020, on Rosedale Avenue; Feb. 24, 2020, in the 500 block of West Wayne Street; Feb. 27, 2020, at the corner of Tremont Avenue and Baxter Street; and March 2, 2020, in the 800 block of Broadway Street.

In each of the transactions, Montgomery testified, the confidential informant was dispatched to purchase heroin from Harvey. While the first purchase was found by experts at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to contain approximately 9 grams of heroin, the three remaining buys — each of which was to be for 15 grams of heroin at a cost of $1,200 each — were found to contain “no controlled substance,” according to the agency’s reports.

Ohio trafficking laws prohibit the selling or offering for sale of narcotic drugs or a controlled substance analog.

On Monday afternoon the court viewed an interview between Montgomery and Harvey that took place on March 5, 2020, during which Harvey said he was just a middle man in the drug distribution supply chain.

The recording of a telephone call placed by Harvey from the Allen County jail to the confidential informant in the case was also played during Monday’s proceedings. In the call, made just last week, Harvey appeared to ask the informant to lie on the witness stand.

“You’re the only one who can really save me,” Harvey told the man. “All they can get you with is perjury.”

Testimony will continue Tuesday.