March 7, 2013
Charleston mayor 'relieved' by son's cocaine arrest
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said Thursday morning that his son had been arrested and charged with possession of cocaine, in a statement in which the mayor called his son "a hopeless drug addict" and said that jail offered his son his best chance to live.

Zachary Francis Jones, 23, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, and was arrested along with Moldavian Harris, 24, of Detroit. Police stopped the two early Thursday morning.

"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 his statement, released at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

"If in jail or prison, I know that Zac has a better chance of living than on the outside," Jones said. "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."

According to Charleston police, Jones was driving a white Mazda when he was pulled over about 6:30 a.m. near the southbound Edens Fork exit of Interstate 77, just north of the city.

According to a criminal complaint on file in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, police found cocaine in the car.

Harris was a passenger in the car, according to the criminal complaint. Harris is also charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Mayor Jones noted that his son was arrested for driving under the influence in 2008 and possession of heroin in 2011. In the heroin case, the mayor said he told police where his son was and, once arrested, requested that his son's bail be raised. Instead, he said, an "associate" of Zachary Jones paid his bond.

"Contrary to the unkind remarks ... I have never interceded to attempt to get my son favorable treatment," the mayor said in his statement.

Jones and Harris were both at the South Central Regional Jail on Thursday evening, with bail set at $25,000 cash for each.

"I know there are a few parents that will read this and relate to the heartbreak I feel," Danny Jones said. "I plead with those in 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."

Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.

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