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York City cocaine trafficker gets 14 years in federal prison

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A previously convicted drug dealer who police said trafficked multiple pounds of cocaine to York City every week or so has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

Jeff Anthony Smith, known as "Jeef," stashed the cocaine at the home of his elderly mother, who at the time was suffering serious health issues and didn't play an active role in his drug trafficking, York City Detective First Class Andrew Shaffer has said.

Jeff "Jeef" Smith

Initially charged locally, Smith's case was moved to federal court where he pleaded guilty Oct. 17, 2017, to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, according to federal court records.

Smith, 30, of York City, was arrested in October 2016 by members of the York City Police Department's narcotics unit, along with federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, outside his mother's home in the 700 block of West King Street, according to police.

He was smart enough not to live in the house where he hid his drugs, Shaffer said, but a team was watching for him.

The drug detectives and DEA agents jointly investigated Smith for 18 months before raiding his mother's home, Shaffer has said.

They seized nearly 3 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $100,000, plus about $15,000 in cash, according to police. 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 when Smith was arrested. "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 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.

Jeff "Jeef" Smith

"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, 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," 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."

Parole violation: Shaffer said Smith is on state parole until 2028.

His criminal history includes convictions in York County for drug dealing, simple assault, fleeing police and resisting arrest.

Federal court records state his 14-year federal sentence will run consecutively to his anticipated sentence for violating his parole in a 2007 York County drug-dealing case.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.