Mayor Jones' son arrested on drug charges
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones' son was arrested on drug charges along with a Detroit man, prompting the mayor to speak candidly about his son's addiction troubles.
In a prepared statement, the mayor said he is heartbroken and that his son is a "hopeless drug addict."
"It may surprise many to know that I was relieved when I found out Zac was arrested, because I know that the only things that might save his life are isolation and yes, incarceration," the mayor said in the statement.
"If in jail or prison, I know that Zac has a better chance at living than on the outside. This is because Zac is a hopeless drug addict who has broken the heart and the will of everyone and anyone who has tried to help him."
Zachary Jones, 25, and Moldavian Harris, 24, of Detroit, were arrested Thursday during a traffic stop in Charleston.
Metro Drug Unit Detective O.B. Morris was working on Interstate 77 just north of Charleston about 6:30 a.m. Thursday when he caught sight of a speeding white Mazda 3.
Morris followed the car off the Washington Street exit and initiated a traffic stop near the Bigley Avenue Go-Mart, said Sgt. Bill Winkler of the Metro Drug Unit.
Winkler said those detectives were on interdiction detail, where they stop vehicles for traffic infractions and look for indicators of further criminal activity. A search of the vehicle turned up 25.7 grams of cocaine. Winkler said that amount was "way beyond something that would be for personal use."
The two were arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine. Bond was set at $25,000 cash for each man.
This isn't the first time the mayor's son has found himself behind bars. He was arrested for DUI in 2008 and possession of heroin in 2011.
The elder Jones said he has never used his position to seek preferential treatment for his son.
"Quite to the contrary, I informed our police department of my son's whereabouts in order to have him arrested," Jones said of the prior drug charges. "When he was arrested, I actually asked to have his bond raised. Unfortunately, one of Zac's associates paid his bond.
"I know there are a few parents that will read this and relate to the heartbreak I feel. I plead with those in the law enforcement, judicial, and jail and prison system to treat my son no better or worse than any other defendant.
"My son does not need anyone to save him from taking this life saving fall."
Morris, now a detective in the Metro Drug Unit, was the arresting officer in today's incident and in 2011 when Zac Jones was found with heroin in his girlfriend's Fort Hill home.
Morris went to a Leslie Road home in January 2011 to investigate after receiving multiple complaints concerning drug activity at the residence. Jones answered the door and allowed the officer inside, telling him there was an illegal substance in the kitchen.
Jones' girlfriend at the time handed over a plate with 10 lines of heroin, which Jones said belonged to him. He told the officer he'd bought it the day before and that the lines on the plate were all that was left.
He was arrested in 2008 after crashing his car in South Hills while driving under the influence. Jones ran away from the scene but was found nearby a short time later in wet and dirty clothes. His blood alcohol content in that incident was .122.
The mayor said in a telephone interview that his son has been through treatment in rehabilitation programs, but to no avail.
The elder Jones has said in past interviews that he had trouble with alcohol nearly 20 years ago. He said he was "drinking and drinking and one day I just stopped, never picked it back up."
He said that was a different situation than what his son is going through, saying alcohol is different from heroin and cocaine.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at 304-348-4850 or by email at Ashley.Craig@dailymail.com.