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DA: Drug task force seized guns, body armor, cash and drugs in 2 investigations

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Members of the York County Drug Task Force seized drugs, cash, guns and body armor when they arrested Derren James Williams at his York City home on April 8, 2021, according to the county DA's office.

A York City man accused of selling marijuana was on house arrest, wearing an electronic ankle cuff and in possession of guns — including a "ghost gun" — when police arrested him, authorities allege.

He was also in possession of body armor, according to court documents.

Derren James Williams, 24, of the 100 block of South Albemarle Street, is free on $15,000 bail, charged with five counts of drug possession with intent to deliver and one count of unlawful possession of body armor, all felonies, plus lesser drug-possession charges, court records state.

Members of the York County Drug Task Force determined Williams was distributing marijuana in York City and arranged to buy pot from him in front of his home, according to a Friday news release from the York County District Attorney's Office, which oversees the task force.

During one of those alleged buys, Williams' domestic partner, Kirsten Flaharty, came outside and handled the deal, the DA's office said.

On April 8, the task force went to the couple's address, arrested them and searched their home, seizing a 9 mm "ghost gun" with high-capacity magazines, a .22-caliber rifle with a high-capacity drum barrel, $10,740 in cash, a money counter and marijuana, the DA's office said.

What's a ghost gun? Ghost guns are untraceable firearms that don’t have serial numbers, and it's illegal to possess them.

Derren James Williams

Also seized was a bulletproof vest and psilocybin mushrooms, according to charging documents.

It's illegal to possess body armor during the course of committing a felony, those documents state.

Williams was dealing drugs while on house arrest and wearing an electronic ankle monitor, according to the DA's office.

Flaharty, 22, also of the 100 block of South Albemarle Street, is charged with two counts of felony drug possession with intent to deliver and two counts of lesser drug-possession charges.

She told police the hallucinogenic mushrooms belonged to her and to Williams, to share, and that she helped Williams repackage marijuana into smaller quantities for sale, and also conducted about 20 drug sales for him, her charging documents allege.

Flaharty remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail, meaning she didn't have to post cash to remain free but could forfeit that amount if she misses court proceedings.

$500K bail: In a second separate investigation, members of the drug task force arrested Victor Luis Cruz, 44, of York, early Thursday morning, according to the DA's office.

Victor Luis Cruz

He remains in York County Prison on $500,000 bail, charged with two felony counts each of being a convicted felon in illegal possession of firearms and drug possession with intent to deliver, court records state.

Police raided a home in the 200 block of South Penn Street on Thursday and seized 7 ounces of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and two guns, all allegedly owned by Cruz, the DA's office said.

In Pennsylvania, felons are prohibited from owning or even handling firearms.

Assisting the drug task force in the investigations were York City Police, the York County Sheriff's Office and the York County Quick Response Team. Task-force members involved included officers from Northern York County Regional Police and York Area Regional Police, according to court records.

Operation Scarecrow: The DA's office news release notes that District Attorney Dave Sunday said the arrests of Cruz, Williams and Flaharty are the latest examples of York County law enforcement's efforts to rid the county of illegal guns and narcotics.

Members of the York County Drug Task Force seized drugs and guns in relation to the April 15, 2021, arrest of Victor Luis Cruz, the district attorney's office said.

To that end, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies recently conducted a multi-agency "focused attack" on people in York City who buy firearms for those who can't legally possess them.

More:'Gun squad' targeting York City's illegal gun trade and its straw buyers

The team removed 19 illegal guns from the streets of York City and identified 18 alleged straw buyers in less than two months, York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow has said.

"Somebody's watching you now and the well has run dry," the commissioner warned other straw buyers. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives defines straw buyers as people who purchase firearms legally, then knowingly give or sell them to those who can't possess them.

Muldrow has said the straw-buyer task force remains active and is simply called York City's gun squad.

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