Cortlandville man pleads guilty in drug bust case

A Cortlandville man pled guilty to a felony drug charge Tuesday — two years after his arrest in a pre-dawn bust — in exchange for a recommended sentence of two years in prison.

Byron T. James, 56, was arrested with McKyla A. Miller, 27, during a drug bust on Feb. 15, 2019 at a 15 Kingsley Ave. Lot 2 home, according to court documents. James pled guilty to possessing drugs with the intent to sell them and is set to be sentenced on April 6. District Attorney Patrick Perfetti stated this morning he is recommending a sentence of two years in prison with two years of post-release supervision. The case against Miller is still pending.

James and Miller were indicted on nine drug-related charges on Oct. 10, 2019 after the drug bust by the Cortland County Drug Task Force, according to court documents. Both were charged with possessing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, the chemical pseudoephedrine used to make methamphetamine, marijuana and the materials to package and sell the drugs, according to the indictment.

Officers in the Drug Task Force, including Cortland County Sheriff’s officers and Homer Village police, served a search warrant about 5:30 a.m. at the Kingsley Avenue residence, according to court documents. Officers had investigated James and Miller and discovered James had sold heroin to a confidential informant multiple times, records state. In total, James sold $200 worth of heroin to the informant, according to court documents.

When officers searched the residence during the bust they found methamphetamine on top of a safe in a bedroom, what appeared to be heroin inside the safe and cocaine in a second bedroom, according to court documents.

“During the execution of the search warrant, officers located marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, pseudoephedrine, packaging material and a scale,” wrote then-Sgt. Garry Williams in a police report. Williams is now a lieutenant at the Sheriff’s office.

Before a plea was entered, Judge David Alexander ruled on March 18, 2020 that evidence of James previously selling drugs on Nov. 8, 2018 and Dec. 19, 2018 could be used in a trial against James.

James is scheduled to appear for sentencing at 10 a.m. on April 6, 2021; Miller is also expected to appear for further court proceedings at that time.

Both are released pending their next court date.