“His main clientele seems to be late teens, early 20s, including many juveniles that are coming and going from the home.” – Jim Flaiz
Investigators with the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office raided an Auburn Township home Thursday afternoon and came away with cash, narcotics, a loaded 9 mm handgun, drug paraphernalia, criminal tools and two arrests.
With the assistance of Geauga County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detectives and deputies, the prosecutor’s office executed a search at 17855 Bridge Creek Trail and apprehended 21-year-old John Goggins — who reportedly told investigators he sells to every Kenston High School kid — on an arrest warrant.
Two other men were detained, including Christopher Walker, 25, of Burton, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant in Geauga County. The third individual, a 19-year-old Middlefield man, subsequently was released.
Friday morning, Goggins appeared in Chardon Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Bond was set at $5,000 cash or surety. A preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. May 14.
Walker also appeared in municipal court Friday. He pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic violence, disorderly conduct, drug abuse and illegal possession of marijuana from an unrelated case filed last October. Bond was set at $5,000 cash or surety.
Goggins lives at the home with his father, Barteaux Goggins, who is an over-the-road truck driver and frequently out of town, according to neighbors.
As law enforcement raced up the driveway and onto the front lawn, the three men were sitting outside on the front porch. They immediately ran into the house with detectives and prosecutor’s office investigators in pursuit.
Goggins was grabbed in the kitchen and Walker, who reportedly has an injured leg, surrendered in the foyer. The Middlefield man was pursued upstairs and caught trying to exit a second floor bathroom window.
On a bedside table in Goggins’ bedroom, detectives also reportedly found a loaded 9 mm handgun next to a Narcotics Anonymous handbook and an alleged heroin spoon.
Earlier Thursday morning, at 9:20 a.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic dispute at the residence. Goggins’ girlfriend told a sheriff’s office dispatcher that he was threatening her.
“He threw a lit cigarette at me and tried to take my phone away from me,” she told the dispatcher, according to a report of the incident.
The woman said she was pregnant and added Goggins told her if she “tried to take his kid away, he would order a hit on me,” the report said.
Goggins refused to allow the deputy entry to the home. The deputy did, however, offer advice to the girlfriend and gave her a ride home.
Goggins was indicted last November on charges of drug trafficking and possession of criminal tools. The case is pending before Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge Forrest Burt.
Goggins entered a plea of not guilty and was released Dec. 13 on a personal recognizance bond. Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz said his office will be filing a motion asking Burt to revoke Goggins’ bond.
His case was scheduled for an intervention in lieu of conviction hearing on June 10.
“After that time, we received additional information that he was continuing to traffic drugs and we set up some controlled drug buys,” said Flaiz.
A prosecutor’s investigator made two different controlled buys, one in April and one in May, he said.
“We’ve also had his house under surveillance. Our surveillance has shown a lot of short-term traffic, a lot of people in and out,” Flaiz said. “His main clientele seems to be late teens, early 20s, including many juveniles that are coming and going from the home.”
He also said his office has acquired other evidence that Goggins has been dealing drugs out of his house.
Based on the evidence and information, Flaiz said his office secured an arrest warrant for Goggins as well as a search warrant of the residence from Chardon Municipal Court Judge Terri Stupica.
Flaiz said Goggins was arrested in November for selling LSD and his office also has made marijuana buys at the residence.
“We also have information that he is selling acid and Molly, which is a synthetic drug that’s, unfortunately, become pretty popular among high school students and people in their early 20s,” he added.
Flaiz said drug activity at the home was “highest” when Goggins’ father was absent from the home.
After the warrants were secured, prosecutor’s office investigator Karen Sweet prepared an operational plan and reviewed it with the other law enforcement personnel. They then all met at a nearby staging area before proceeding to Goggins’ home and executing the warrants, Flaiz explained.
Flaiz and two of his assistant prosecutors were on scene to observe and answer legal questions.
“For significant search warrants, my office always makes an assistant prosecutor available,” he added.
Flaiz said Friday morning he will file a nuisance complaint regarding the property.
“Given the amount of drug dealing that has been occurring out of the home … we’re going to seek an order from the court to board up the home,” the prosecutor said.
Friday morning, Judge Burt signed an order to have the home boarded up. That afternoon, crews from Auburn Township carried out the court order.
Last April, the prosecutor’s office executed a similar raid of a Caves Road home in Chester Township.
Chester Township mother Constance Thomas was arrested in that raid and charged with felonious drug possession, including heroin and cocaine.
“It’s similar in the sense that a lot of the clientele is the same,” Flaiz said, explaining the dealer was selling to high schools kids and people in their early 20s.
The cases are different, however, in that Goggins is 21 and Thomas was in her mid 50s.
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