Police chief's son released after drug charge arrest

Jason Hastings / photo: Andy Wolf

The son of the Sherrill police chief has been arrested by federal agents in connection with an investigation into a methamphetamine overdose by the chief TMs grandson.

The Drug Enforcement Administration confirms that 29-year-old Jason Hastings, son of Sherrill Police Chief James Hastings, is charged with a violation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. That act prohibits the purchase of more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine in a 30 day period.

Federal Magistrate David Peebles released Jason Hastings from custody after a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Syracuse.

U.S. Attorney John Katko tried to have Hastings jailed as a "danger" to the public because he admitted to making and using meth even after his nephew suffered an overdose. Peebles said he can only jail a suspect on such a charge if he or she faces more than ten years in prison. Hastings faces a maximum of two years.

Katko told CNY Central that Hastings' freedom may be short lived because his probation officer has been notified of the admissions he made to DEA agents Wednesday.

DEA Resident in Charge Suzan Colon told CNY Central Wednesday morning that following the revelation that the chief's grandson suffered the overdose, they launched an investigation and found that Jason Hastings has purchased pseudoephedrine from pharmacies in Chittenango, Oneida, Verona, and Sherrill. Colon points out that while pseudoephedrine is still an over-the-counter drug, customers must sign for it upon purchase at the pharmacies.

Colon says nine grams of pseudoephedrine would equal at least 371 pills.

Steve Sgarlata, the boy's father, tells CNY Central that he is happy to hear of the arrest of Jason Hastings. He calls this a high spot in months of ups and downs, and says the arrest proves that I wasn TMt imaging things. I TMve been telling people about Jason TMs involvement with crystal meth. My son has been poisoned| and now I want to make sure that the long-term effects are minimalized.

CNY Central was the first to report in March that Chief Hastings' six-year-old grandson suffered an overdose of methamphetamine while in the care of the chief, at the chief TMs home. Chief Hastings was placed on administrative leave by the city for approximately four weeks, but was reinstated in late April .

Sherrill City Manager Bob Comis tells CNY Central that the city is still waiting for more details on the arrest of Jason Hastings and has no comment at this time. He did say that Chief Hastings TM reinstatement has not changed. We TMre told that Chief Hastings was out of the office Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

DEA officials tell CNY Central that their investigation is ongoing. Jason Hastings faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison if convicted of this federal violation.