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Police: York City cocaine dealer kept drugs at mom's house
A convicted York City drug dealer accused of bringing multiple pounds of cocaine here every week or two was smart enough not to live in the house where he stashed his drugs, according to police. Instead, he stored the drugs in his mom's house, they said.
York City Police Detective First Class Andrew Shaffer said authorities didn't arrest Jeff Anthony Smith's mother, who is elderly and has serious health issues, because they don't believe she played an active role in his alleged drug trafficking.
Federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents and members of York City's narcotics unit jointly investigated Smith for 18 months before arresting him outside his mother's 718 W. King St. home Wednesday morning, according to Shaffer.
Armed with a search warrant, they raided the house and seized nearly 3 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $100,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars in cash, Shaffer said. About three-quarters of the cocaine was in crack form, he said, while the rest was powder.
"We believe he was bringing multiple pounds of cocaine into York County on a weekly or biweekly basis," Shaffer said. "He was selling to other dealers ... thousands of dollars (worth of cocaine) at a time. He wasn't doing street-level stuff."
Worked 'up the ladder': Shaffer said Smith, who is known as "Jeef," made it on the narcotics unit's radar when arrests of other alleged drug dealers led police to him.
"We worked our way up the ladder," the detective said.
DEA agents were involved in the Smith investigation with city detectives from the beginning, according to Shaffer.
"We've spent multiple hours following him and multiple hours surveilling him," the detective said, and eventually had confidential informants buy cocaine from Smith.
The morning of the bust, authorities waited outside his mother's home for him to arrive there, then moved to arrest him after spotting him in an alley behind the home, Shaffer said.
Foiled by fashion: As soon as Smith saw police, he took off on foot, according to the detective — but he didn't get far.
"The chase lasted maybe three-quarters of a block. He fell, and at that point we arrested him (without incident)," Shaffer said. "He had on loose baggy pants, and that made it difficult for him to run. That (fashion trend) has helped us out numerous times over the years."
Shaffer said investigators wanted to arrest Smith at his mother's home as one more way to tie him to the seized cocaine.
"He wasn't staying at that house, even though it's his address of record," the detective said. "He was staying at other locations and he wasn't sleeping there."
Smith, 29, is charged with delivery of cocaine and remains in York County Prison on $100,000 bail.
Parole violation: However, he can't be released even if he posts bail because he's also being held on a state parole violation, according to Shaffer, who said Smith is on state parole until 2028.
Although Smith was charged in York County Court, the case against him is expected to be handled federally, Shaffer said. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg will be taking the case to a federal grand jury in the coming weeks, he said.
Smith's criminal history includes convictions in York County for drug dealing, simple assault, fleeing police and resisting arrest.
Shaffer said the investigation is still active and more arrests are expected. He asks anyone with information about Smith's alleged "cocaine enterprise" to call York City detectives at 717-849-2219.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.