Pickaway News Journal

Wed, Jul 26, 2017

Traffic stop nets largest meth bust in local history

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Jason M. Baker Sr. and Teresa L. Zlater (Photos courtesy of the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office)

CIRCLEVILLE - A traffic stop and an alert canine officer led to the arrest of two people and the discovery of more than one pound of methamphetamine in the city early Tuesday morning.

Jason M. Baker Sr., 47, and Teresa L. Zlater, 44, both of Chillicothe, are charged with trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs in the case.

According to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, the traffic stop began as a call about a suspected drunk driver southbound on U.S. Route 23 from Little Walnut Road in an orange Camaro.

Deputy Stephen Harger located the suspect vehicle on Route 23 near Huston Street and initiated a traffic stop about 12:36 a.m. Tuesday. During the stop, Harger deployed his canine partner, Aron, to perform a free-air narcotic sniff around the vehicle, and Aron alerted for the presence of narcotics.

A subsequent search by Harger and Sgt. Tim Carpenter reportedly uncovered more than one pound of methamphetamine, along with cocaine and cash. Detectives from the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force also assisted at the scene.

Detective John Strawser, Pickaway County Sheriff's Office, said the amount of methamphetamine recovered is significant and probably the largest single meth bust in local history. Usually when meth is discovered, he said, it is within a few grams. One pound contains about 453 grams, Strawser said.

Baker already has a notorious history of drug activity in Pickaway County. In 2012, he was arrested in "Operation Rollin' Stone," a raid that involved 25 suspects and search warrants at seven different locations throughout the city.

Baker served four years in state prison for drug trafficking in that case and was just released from prison last year.

Canine officer Aron poses with drugs and cash recovered during a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.
(Photo courtesy of the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office.)

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