The drug task force said it has made the largest heroin bust in Lancaster County history, seizing $300,000 worth of the deadly substance and breaking up a major drug ring.
The seizure of more than a kilo of heroin — about 2½ pounds — and the arrest of the alleged dealers on Nov. 20 was among several major busts in recent weeks.
“There's no doubt the task force saved someone's life by getting this vast amount of poison off the streets,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said in a written statement announcing the charges.
“But these arrests also illustrate the growing scope of the problem we face.”
The Lancaster County coroner has told LNP the number of heroin overdose deaths in 2015 is on pace to double that of 2014.
In the largest heroin bust here, members of the Lancaster County Drug Task Force said they found the drugs in a car they stopped on North Plum Street in Lancaster on Nov. 20.
Police also raided a home in Leola and charged three as part of their investigation. They found more heroin, a sawed-off shotgun and heroin processing items including a scale, a grinder and rice used to keep the heroin dry.
Charged in the case are:
— Larry Michael Anne, 49, of Leola;
— Anthony N. Santiago, 26, of Lancaster;
— and Lindsay R. Trout, 25, of Columbia.
All three are in Lancaster County Prison on bail ranging from $250,000 to $1 million.
The district attorney said the vehicle stop was part of an ongoing investigation by the task force and included officers from Lancaster City Police and their K-9 officer Leo.
The task force has made several other arrests in September and October.
According to the district attorney’s office:
— Angel Noel Martinez, 25, was arrested Oct. 2 in a Manor Township home where police found 132 packets of heroin, more than three grams of bulk heroin, illegal handguns and drug packaging supplies. Martinez is charged with felony drug dealing and is free on $5,000 of unsecured bail.
— Shiree Laverne Gray, 48, was arrested Oct. 19 at a home at 515 Beaver St., where police found 98 grams of bulk heroin with a street value of $4,000. Police said they also found more than a pound of bulk marijuana in Gray's vehicle. On previous raids, Gray's boyfriend, Michael Tate, was charged, police said. Gray is charged with felony drug-dealing and is free after a bondsman posted $100,000 bail.
— Javonne T. King, 25, was arrested at 520 Spruce St. on Sept. 28, after detectives found two grams of bulk heroin and an ounce of crack cocaine at the residence. Police said King tried to hide the drugs under a couch cushion during the raid. King is charged with felony drug dealing and is at Lancaster County Prison on $150,000 bail.
— Alvin J. Santos, 24, and Victor Virola, 23, were charged with felony drug-dealing after police raided Virola's apartment at 124 North Third St. in Columbia. Police said they found two grams of bulk heroin and 55 packets of heroin.
Police said they arrested Santos at the apartment after they found the backpack he was wearing contained 50 packets of heroin and a handgun. Santos is at Lancaster County Prison on $200,000 bail.
While at Lancaster County Prison on $175,000 bail, Virola was charged in the overdose death of Kody McKain, 21, of Columbia on Sept. 5. Police allege Virola sold McKain a deadly dose of heroin containing the powerful drug fentanyl.
— Michael T. Stewart, 37, and Kenton S. Reid, 44, were charged with felony drug dealing and placed in Lancaster County Prison on $250,000 bail. Police raided their apartment at 214 N. Third St. in Columbia on Oct. 16. and allegedly found 45 bags of heroin and 14 grams of crack cocaine.
— Syeen Y. Hill, 35, was charged with felony drug dealing, illegal possession of a gun and receiving stolen property. Police raided a home at 47 Caroline St. and allegedly found 81 grams of powder cocaine, 51 grams of crack cocaine, a scale and a stolen handgun.
Hill was placed in Lancaster County Prison on $50,000 in bail.