A jury in a criminal action in Providence has found 49-year-old Jon Casella guilty of multiple counts involved with the distribution of methamphetamines, as well as a charge of illegal possession of a firearm. The Rhode Island man faces a prison sentence of at least five years after he sold drugs to undercover officers on several occasions who were executing an enforcement operation. The transactions were recorded and presented as evidence in the trial. Prior to his arrest, Casella had bought a .38 caliber gun from one of the agents, which he is prohibited from possessing due to his felony record.
The investigation was a joint effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, the U.S. Attorney and both the Warwick and Pawtucket police. The transactions involved varying amounts of methamphetamine weighing between 1.5 and 7.7 grams and costing roughly between $100 and $700. Casella explained to the officers that he was in the market for a firearm to protect his property following a theft. During the final transaction where he was arrested, he received the handgun and also sold 7.4 grams of meth for $600. The prosecutor in the case was Milind Shah, an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant, which may have a crystal-like appearance and either a white or blue color. Often the drug is sold in a powder form, or it can be molded into a pill. The drug is similar to amphetamine which is often used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy. On the street, the drug is often referred to as crank, speed, ice, or meth. Users may potentially ingest it by smoking it, snorting it, via injection, or swallowing, if in pill form. The effects of the drug tend to begin quite rapidly and shortly after may begin to quickly fade. Abusers are known to spend consecutive days on a “binge”, during which time they often have no appetite or desire for sleep.
Excessive use can lead to an overdose, which in some cases could cause death. Other known health risks include stroke, organ failure, and heart attack. Some of the common effects of usage include the following:
- A strong burst of energy
- Reduced appetite
- Rapid or unusual breathing patterns
- Excessive heart rate
- Heightened blood pressure and/or body temperature
Those who make the product may do so in an elaborate laboratory-type setting, such those commonly found in Mexico. Meanwhile, smaller “meth labs” are also commonly established anywhere with privacy such as in homes or motel rooms. The ingredients used may vary and could include pseudoephedrine, a substance that is typically contained in cold medicine. Penalties for possessing the drug have been increased over the years and are based on the amount of the drug discovered. Some of the common “tiers” for felony drug possession are 5 grams, 50 grams, and 500 grams, all of which have some mandated minimum sentencing requirements that guide the courts.