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6 pounds of meth in mail, jail call nets long sentence in drug case

A Dayton man who received methamphetamine delivered via mail to a Centerville residence — and later had charges added after a jail phone call — reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Damaad S. Gardner, 28, pleaded guilty Monday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to meth trafficking. The agreed-upon sentence in the written plea deal is 10 years in prison, an $876 forfeiture and a fine to be determined. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose scheduled Gardner’s sentencing for Oct. 5.

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In November 2017, United States Postal employees intercepted a package mailed from Henderson, Nevada, addressed to a person who didn’t live at a Centerville home on Parkbrook Drive, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The Priority Mail Express package that weighed more than six pounds was opened pursuant to a prior federal search warrant and found to contain a whitish crystalline substance that field tested positive for meth.

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An affidavit stated an undercover officer posing as a postal carrier knocked several times before leaving the package outside the residence’s door. About a half-hour later, the document said, Gardner took the package inside before federal agents knocked several times without any answer.

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Gardner later said he was taking a shower, but was fully clothed and there were no wet towels or moisture in any tubs, according to the affidavit.

Gardner was arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on Nov. 16, 2017. The next day, the affidavit said, jail officials reviewed a phone call in which Gardner mentioned “cleaning things out of his room.”

During a consented search of Gardner’s mother’s Dayton residence, investigators found Gardner’s cell phone, baggies and a blender with suspected narcotics residue that tested positive for acetaminophen, heroin and fentanyl.

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The search warrant affidavit written by a postal inspector sought and received permission to search Gardner’s Samsung Verizon flip phone for evidence of federal crimes.

Gardner originally was indicted Nov. 30, 2017, on a charge of possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of meth.

On March 29, 2018, Gardner was re-indicted to add two counts of using a communication facility (the cell phone) during the commission of drug trafficking crimes. The two later counts were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

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“Gardner knowingly possessed with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine,” the statement of facts in the plea agreement read. “Upon receiving this parcel, Mr. Gardner intended to sell the drugs within it in exchange for cash.”

The statutory minimum for the first count is 10 years with a maximums of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Rose ordered sentencing memoranda to be produced by the prosecutors and defense attorney.

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