Former Yuba narcotics officer convicted in interstate pot trafficking scheme – Sacramento Bee
A former Yuba County narcotics officer was convicted Wednesday on federal charges involving trafficking nearly 250 pounds of marijuana to Pennsylvania.
Yuba County Deputy Christopher Heath, 37, was a lead investigator who filed numerous search warrants and directed raids in marijuana, methamphetamine and other drug cases for a five-agency Narcotics Enforcement Team in Yuba and Sutter counties.
Heath and two other men were stopped in York County, Pa., on Dec 29, 2015. They were driving two pickup trucks loaded with 122 packages of marijuana that could be sold in the East Coast black market for four to five times the street value in California or the wholesale price in the state’s regulated marijuana industry.
A federal jury in Harrisburg, Pa., convicted Heath after a two-day trial of multiple counts including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Heath, who was taken into custody by United States marshals after the verdict, could face a sentence of 20 years or more in federal prison.
Along with sealed packages of marijuana and $11,000 in cash, the Pennsylvania authorities said they found Heath’s law enforcement badge and service weapon. When Heath and his co-conspirators arrived to deliver the marijuana in York County, they were arrested by the York County Drug Task Force and Penn Township Police Department.
Bruce D. Brandler, the United State Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said jurors took less than two hours to reach guilty verdicts.
Heath, who lives in Butte County, was arrested with two other Butte residents: his brother-in-law, Tyler Long, then 31, and Ryan Falsone, then 27, according to officials in Pennsylvania and California.
The arrests created chaos for the court systems in Yuba and Sutter counties,