Postal worker gets prison for helping son move pot to York
A U.S. Postal Service worker who helped bring nearly 200 pounds of marijuana to York County from California will spend the next six years in prison.
The U.S. Attorneys Office said in a news release Friday, Sept. 29, that Ramona Long, 57, pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture and distribute 100 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds.
Long pleaded guilty to the charges in April, and on Thursday, Sept. 28, District Court Judge Yvette Kane sentenced her to six years in prison.
She assisted her son, Tyler Long, 33; her son-in-law and California deputy sheriff Christopher Mark Heath, 38; and Ryan Jay Falsone, 28, in bringing the drugs.
The drug trafficking took place between September 2014 and January 2016.
Ramona Long used her job as a post office supervisor to make sure authorities didn't find the drug shipments.
Tyler Long, Heath and Falsone were charged locally in late 2015, but the charges were dropped not long afterward because federal law enforcement took over the investigation.
Heath was found guilty in May 2017, and the other three pleaded guilty to their involvement prior to Heath's trial.
Long: According to the news release, Ramona Long and her co-defendants grew marijuana on her 20-acre property in Oroville, California, and shipped it to several locations, which include post office boxes in York and Lancaster.
Officials searched her property and found a shop devoted to harvesting and processing marijuana, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Inside the shop was a trimmer, drying racks, 74 raised plant beds and grow lights, officials said. Law enforcement officials seized five firearms, ammunition and multiple plastic bins containing marijuana.
Long attempted to hide them from police when they searched her home, according to the release.
Background: Police seized Heath's work handgun plus the millions of dollars worth of pot and $500,000 cash on Dec. 29, 2015, when they arrested him, Tyler Long and Falsone for delivering what officials said was a massive haul of weed to a home in the first block of Frogtown Road in West Manheim Township.
The trio had about 122 packages of weed, each containing a pound or more of the drug, according to police.
Their indictment states the first sign of the conspiracy between the four Oroville, California, residents came Sept. 11, 2015, when they mailed 3.44 pounds of marijuana from the Oroville post office where Ramona Long worked to a York County address.
Two weeks later, they received payment in the mail from a Mountville, Lancaster County, post office to a P.O. box in Bangor, California, according to the indictment.
That day, they sent another 4.56 pounds of pot to a York County address, the indictment states.
Three days later, the Bangor P.O. box received another payment mailed from Mountville, the indictment states.
Transactions continued in this vein for the next three months, documents state, with about 130 pounds of marijuana sent from that Oroville post office to addresses and post offices in York City, New Salem, Hanover and Mountville and $500,000 in payments sent back from post offices in the area.
The last drugs were sent out Dec. 10 and the last payment six days later, the indictment says.
Then, on Dec. 27, 2015, the three men set out from their California homes in two vehicles carrying 200 pounds of what York County authorities have called high-quality marijuana, according to the indictment.
Heath, who was driving a pickup truck with the big haul of pot, had a gun and his sheriff’s deputy badge, the indictment states.
The Yuba County Sheriff's Office said Heath was on vacation when he was arrested. Heath, who served on a narcotics task force, resigned after the charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Falsone was sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement, according to court records.
Heath is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 19, and Tyler Long will be sentenced Nov. 22, court records indicate.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.