LIMA — An Allen County jury deliberated for only a little more than two hours Wednesday before finding a Lima man guilty of five drug-related charges, including a specification labeling him a major drug offender.
Jaishaun Ball, 33, was found guilty of a first-degree felony charge of possession of cocaine based on the discovery by the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force of more than 114 grams of coke during the execution of a search warrant at Ball’s residence in April of 2019. Because the bulk amount of cocaine exceeded 100 grams the major drug offender specification was applicable.
Jurors also found Ball guilty of the remaining charges that included three fourth-degree felony counts of trafficking in cocaine, a fifth-degree felony charge of possession of cocaine and a third-degree felony count of having weapons under disability. The trafficking charges included specifications that the sale of drugs took place within 1,000 feet of a school.
Other specifications included in the jury’s guilty verdicts included the forfeiture of a firearm and $2,394 in U.S. currency. Ball buried his head in his hands and kept it there as the verdicts were read aloud in court. He will be sentenced April 29.
Jurors heard Sgt. Brandon Hemker of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office testify on Wednesday that the task force executed a search warrant on April 1, 2019, at 953 Rice Ave., Lima. In addition to the large amount of cocaine found during the raid, other items taken into evidence included three digital scales with suspected drug residue on them, two cell phones, a Sig Sauer P250 .40 caliber firearm and the U.S. currency.
The residence was said by prosecutors to be the home of Ball, who was present when the search warrant was executed and was taken into custody following the raid. During his closing arguments, however, Defense Attorney Steve Chamberlain said the state failed to prove that Ball actually resided at 953 Rice Avenue.
“My client does not own the house, but they (prosecutors) never reached out to the actual owner” to verify that Ball resided there. “Why? Because it doesn’t fit their narrative,” Chamberlain said. “There is not one piece of evidence that connects Jaishaun Ball to that address.”
The attorney also attempted to discredit the state’s main witness in the case. Jurors on Tuesday heard testimony from a confidential informant who said she purchased cocaine from Ball on three separate occasions in March of 2019 in exchange for the dismissal of low-level drug charges against her.
“The state put an admitted addict on the stand as their star witness,” Chamberlain said, calling the informant “a proven unreliable person who was merely pleasing her handler.” And he said Hemker’s earlier testimony that the informant was thoroughly searched after each controlled buy lacked believability because the male police officer did not search the female informant’s body cavities.
“There’s a lot that wasn’t checked in this case that should have been,” Chamberlain told jurors. “If you’re going to charge a member of this community with felony crimes, you’d better dot your i’s and cross your t’s.”
The jury, however, provided the final punctuation mark with its verdict.