California deputy gets prison time for bringing pot to York
A California deputy sheriff who helped bring nearly 200 pounds of marijuana to York County will spend the next decade in prison, according to officials.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday, Oct. 20, that Christopher Mark Heath, 38, a former deputy sheriff in Yuba County, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bringing the drugs to the county.
Heath was found guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and drug trafficking.
A jury convicted him in May, and he was sentenced Thursday, Oct. 19, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The drug trafficking took place between September 2014 and January 2016.
Heath was assisted in bringing the drugs by Tyler Long, 33; Heath's mother-in-law Ramona Long, 57; and Ryan Jay Falsone, 28.
All of them pleaded guilty to their involvement before Heath's trial, according to officials.
Background: 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.
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, 2015, 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.
Ramona Long, who officials say was growing marijuana on her property, was sentenced to six years in prison for her involvement.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.