A Tennessee man, who allegedly ran from police while handcuffed, was arrested at a Williamsburg motel early Tuesday morning on charges ranging from escape to unlawful imprisonment.
Williamsburg Police Officer Justin Taylor arrested Jason C. Johnson, 36, of Athens, about 3:41 a.m. charging him with giving an officer false information, fleeing or evading police on foot, third-degree escape, resisting arrest, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, tampering with physical evidence and being a fugitive from another state.
The incident happened at the Super 8 motel off KY92W shortly after midnight.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said the arrest stems from an ongoing effort his department has been making into drug trafficking at local motels.
Bird said there has been a significant problem with drug traffickers – some local and some not – trafficking in drugs at local motels, and some of his third-shift officers have been trying to “put the heat on the motels.”
“They sit and watch for local people to check in, or people from adjacent counties or people from out of state, who may have indicators and that is what they were doing. They saw some people from an adjacent county at one of our local motels,” Bird noted.
Taylor and Officer Cody Jeffries approached two individuals, who were standing outside the motel room in a breezeway. The officers talked to the two men briefly, and their stories didn’t add up, Bird said.
“There were two people in the room, whom these two people did not know. They could not give names or say how they knew them. We had all the indicators there, and the officers asked for consent to search the room from the two, who were outside. They were the ones, who rented the room,” Bird said.
The officers knocked on the motel room door, and there was a woman and a man inside, but the man wouldn’t come to the door, Bird said.
The officers had the motel room staff unlock the door, but Johnson had latched the inner lock on the door, which prevented it from opening more than a few inches. It took officers about 10 minutes to get inside the motel room, Bird said.
Once the officers entered the room, they learned that Johnson had allegedly flushed one and one-half pound pounds of crystal methamphetamine down the toilet, Bird said.
Johnson was detained during the course of the investigation, and originally gave police the name James Woods, according to an arrest citation.
Bird said it took officers a while to learn who Johnson was, but they eventually determined that U.S. Marshals out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, wanted him on an ATF case.
“He had a federal indictment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of crystal meth down there,” Bird added. “In speaking with the ATF agents, who were working the case in Chattanooga, Mr. Johnson has quite the criminal history in trafficking. He is a known Gangster Disciple out of Chicago.”
After Johnson was handcuffed, he ran from officers but was captured when officers tackled him in the parking lot after about a 200-yard chase, Bird said.
Bird said that the woman, who was in the room with Johnson when police were knocking, tried several times to exit the room, but Johnson prevented her from doing so, which is why the unlawful imprisonment charge was filed.
Neither the two men outside the motel room, nor the woman inside the motel room were charged by police.
Bird didn’t identify the woman, who was inside the motel room with Johnson, but he did confirm that it wasn’t Johnson’s wife.
Johnson’s arrest citations indicate that he is married.
The woman inside the motel room told police that she had met Johnson on a dating site. “We suspect it was more than that, but we just didn’t have enough to charge her that day,” Bird noted.
Bird added that his department is dealing with crystal methamphetamine more and more every day, and are often dealing with people who are Gangster Disciples or who are cartel members.
“Crystal meth is pretty dangerous,” Bird noted.
Crystal meth is selling in Atlanta for about $8,000 a pound, and is probably being sold for about three times that amount locally.
“Depending on how they break it down and how they sell it, they can make quite a bit of money on it,” Bird noted.