Lancaster police: two arrests after marijuana odor complaint

Two Lancaster City men face charges following an investigation of a marijuana odor complaint. City police responded to a call at at about 2:17 pm last Tuesday to a 2nd floor apartment at 121 E. Walnut Street for a complaint of odor of marijuana.

Upon arrival, officers did detect an odor of burnt marijuana coming from the apartment. When they knocked on the door, they could hear sounds of people inside the apartment running back and forth.

In reaction an officer moved to the rear of the building to cover the rear fire escape. That officer saw someone from the apartment throwing items from a rear porch onto an adjoining property. The officer then observed a man, later identified as Alex Palmer, 36, walking down the fire escape steps carrying a tote bag. When he saw the police officer, Palmer dropped the bag and ran back up the steps to the apartment. Opening the bag the officer saw what looked like marijuana as well as a semi-automatic handgun.

Meanwhile at the door of the apartment, an officer observed through the front vestibule, a man later identified as Radames Vargas, 19, carrying a plastic bag and looking down the steps to see that police were still there.

Moving to the rear of the apartment, Vargas went outside and retrieved some of the items that Palmer had discarded. Vargas was also seen near a neighbor’s grill. A search later uncovered suspected marijuana concealed under the grill’s lid.  Police obtained a search warrant and found additional marijuana, packing materials, paraphernalia as well as a sawed off shotgun.  A check of the handgun revealed that it had been reported stolen during a burglary in Manheim Township in 2010.

As a result of the investigation, Palmer was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver, Criminal Conspiracy, Receiving Stolen Property, Tampering with Evidence, Firearms not to be carried without a License, and Prohibited Offensive Weapons and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Following arraignment Palmer was sent to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Charges against  Vargas include Possession with Intent to Deliver(marijuana), Criminal Conspiracy, Tampering with Evidence and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.