Image via Facebook
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An Oakland man arrested last week by Berkeley Police officers had 20 individually wrapped pieces of what authorities believe to be crack cocaine in his mouth at the time of his detention, according to court papers.

Berkeley Police officers served a search warrant at the man’s West Oakland home Sept. 3 shortly before 11 a.m. Around the same time, they detained 46-year-old Ronald Major about 3 miles away near the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

According to court papers, Major had more than 4 grams of cocaine, including packaging, in his mouth when he was arrested. Police said he also had a cellphone in his hand “with text messages indicating narcotics sales.”

At Major’s home, police said they recovered a digital scale and suspected cocaine residue, used and unused packaging material, $270 in cash, a stolen loaded revolver and a bottle of suspected liquid morphine with the name torn off the bottle.

Major was arrested on suspicion of possession of crack cocaine for sale, possession of liquid morphine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, possession of stolen property and probation violation.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Major with felony possession for sale of cocaine base.

According to court documents, he was convicted of five felonies related to drugs and firearms between 1987 to 2010.

Major remains in custody and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Monday, Sept. 15, at 9:05 a.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

He is being held with a bail of $100,000 at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Though Berkeley Police have declined to comment on drug investigations in the past, they have noted that “it is not uncommon for narcotics investigations to take us into other jurisdictions in the region, as drug dealing operations don’t necessarily follow jurisdictional lines.”

3 busted in Berkeley with firearms, marijuana for sale (08.29.14)
Felons face drug, weapons charges after Berkeley arrest (07.15.14)
Police: West Berkeley fire caused by hashish operation (05.28.14)
Police arrest 3 after People’s Park drug deal (05.23.14)
Berkeley Police nab convicted drug dealer with gun (05.22.14)

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...