By Derrick Pal
SACRAMENTO, CA — How much methamphetamine is too much? That was the question here Tuesday in Sacramento County Superior Court in defendant Jason Frazelle’s case where the prosecution claimed his large meth possession indicated it was not just for personal usage but for selling.
In the end, despite the long debate at the preliminary hearing, the court sided with the prosecution and Frazelle will stand trial on the serious felony counts.
The prosecution reported that last Nov. 9, Detective Joseph Keller executed a probation search where he contacted defendant Jason Frazelle in a residence backyard with an acquaintance, Andrew Stoller, both previously arrested on drug-related charges.
A search conducted on defendant Frazelle revealed a plastic bindle that tested positive for meth, and the contents weighed at 10.8 grams. And Det. Keller, when he searched Stoller’s phone, “found a text thread between him, and a subject named J,” later confirmed to be defendant Frazelle.
A typical dosage of meth for a user is between 0.1 – 0.2 grams, and 10.8 grams of methamphetamine “can be approximately 50–100 doses, depending on how much they’re using on each dose,” according to Keller, who opined, “This is more than what the average user would possess at one time.”
Then, on February 1, 2021, Detective Taylor Rutledge contacted defendant Frazelle at a Quick Mart parking lot and conducted another probation search, and found “a clear plastic, zipper-top baggie, approximately 1-inch by 2-inch, in his front right pant pocket.”
Det. Rutledge tested and weighed the contents of the bag which revealed eight grams of methamphetamine, which he said Frazelle purchased for about $50. He then searched the defendant’s home and found “several hypodermic needles in his desk drawers,” a digital scale, and other drug paraphernalia.
Assistant Public Defender Anthony Crisostomo contested the conclusions from the testimonies, stating that “this is a very little amount…someone who has been using as long as Mr. Frazelle has…it would be more common for someone who is a long-term user to possess amounts at that level, as opposed to someone who’s an average user.”
The PD concluded that “the officer testimony that an average user doesn’t possess that amount doesn’t typically apply to Mr. Frazelle…this is someone who at this point is possessing for his own personal use and there’s no indication that he’s possessing for the purposes of sale.”
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gong argued that “there is no evidence presented other than in hypotheticals that Mr. Frazelle is a long-time user of 20 years,” adding, “It’s assumed, but there was no evidence of that.
“Mr. Frazelle claims, of course, that this is for personal use, but I think that we cannot trust those statements,” said DDA Gong, noting, “And they are not credible, because he also claims that he bought that methamphetamine for $50 when we in fact know that methamphetamine street value is, on the lower end, approximately $300 worth.”
“I would object to the extent that Ms. Gong is shifting the burden in that Mr. Frazelle has to prove that he was planning on ingesting the methamphetamine right there at that point in order to prove personal use,” said DPD Crisostomo.
“I don’t think that is part of the analysis here. It’s not understood that people who possess methamphetamine for personal use have to have a device on them at any given point in order to prove that they are about to smoke it,” noted the PD, and added the source of the defendant’s “employment or funds again doesn’t necessarily prove that he had to have been selling the drugs and have a job otherwise.”
He said the detectives didn’t “find any currency on him, so you’d think someone who is selling methamphetamine at that point would have massive amounts of currency…Mr. Frazelle was found to have none in both incidences.”
Judge Allen Sumner found that there was sufficient evidence to hold Mr. Frazelle to answer for all five counts charged against him, including two counts of possession of methamphetamine for sale, one count of transportation of meth for sale, one count of simple possession of meth, and one count of driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
A trial readiness conference is set for April 15.
Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.
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