On the first day of a trial for Curtis Jamain Jones, prosecutors claimed that Jones tried to run from officers after he sold 6 ounces of cocaine to a confidential informant.
The 33-year-old Columbus man, accused of selling $16,000 worth of drugs, would face at least a 10-year sentence if a jury finds he was guilty of trafficking in cocaine on March 22, 2007.
"Drug cases are dirty cases," Assistant District Attorney Michael Craig said Tuesday. "Dirty people deal drugs -- period."
In his opening statement, Craig said a confidential informant worked with Metro Narcotics Drug Task Force agents and agreed to meet Jones to buy the cocaine. Special Agent Linda Lee testified that the informant got a pouch full of fake money and was told to exchange it for the drugs.
The agent followed the informant to a Forrest Road shopping strip, where Craig said co-defendant Timothy Youson, 30, got out of the driver's seat and walked toward a barber shop. Jones got out of the passenger side and walked to a nearby car wash — the spot Craig said he'd agreed to meet the informant.
Craig said Jones then sold the cocaine to the informant and was arrested as he fled. Attorney Michael Garner, who represents Jones, argued that his client was there to meet a friend, not sell drugs.
"Can you put drugs, in this case, on this defendant?" Garner asked. "Or are they just relying on evidence from this unnamed person?"
Garner said the informant was busted by officers and wanted to implicate others so he won't serve prison time. He didn't buy drugs, but instead drove past Jones and threw something out the window, leading officers to run in and made the arrest.
Later, after speaking with the informant, Garner said he produced the drugs and told them he'd gotten it from Jones.
"That's exactly what this is -- it's a dirty business," Garner said.
Lee, however, testified that she recorded a conversation between the informant and Jones setting up the meeting by the car wash. Garner argued Lee couldn't testify that his client was the person on the recording, and he motioned for a mistrial.
Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Robert Johnston III denied the motion. The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning.