LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- An alleged drug trafficker is charged with having nearly 185 pounds of marijuana – with a street value of $1 million or more – in what is one of the most significant marijuana seizures in Lancaster County history.
Miguel Angel Garcia-Jimenez, 45, is charged with felony drug-dealing regarding a Lancaster County Drug Task Force investigation which resulted in a seizure on Dec. 14.
At an apartment in the 200 block of West Main Street in Landisville, detectives found 180 pounds of high-grade marijuana – most of it vacuum-sealed – along with an “owe sheet” for customers and $4,000 cash.
Detectives estimated the marijuana, if sold in bulk, is worth about $500,000; if broken up for smaller-quantity sales, the value would exceed $1 million.
“This is one of the largest seizures of marijuana I can recall in my 26 years as a prosecutor in Lancaster County,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman Thursday. “A high-level trafficking operation was quashed with this arrest. Our belief, based on the information we have here, is this was close to being moved out to the street to mid and upper dealers."
Garcia-Jimenez is a Mexican national who has been deported from the United States multiple times. He is being held on a federal detainer, obtained by ICE.
"There’s another detainer from ICE to be deported again. I can’t give you an exact number - we’re working on that. There’s a number of different names on involved. All I can tell you, for sure, is he’s been deported multiple times, and of course, is back here introducing marijuana into our communities," said Stedman.
District Judge Jayne Duncan arraigned Garcia-Jimenez on the felony charge and set bail at $1 million. Even if that is posted, he would remain in custody due to the federal detainer.
Garcia-Jimenez waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Detectives obtained information about a bulk of marijuana at the Main Street location. They conducted surveillance of the apartment prior to the Dec. 14 search.
Garcia-Jimenez was at the apartment, with a key to the apartment on his person.
Law-enforcement officials are investigating where the marijuana came from and if any other individuals were involved in the trafficking operation.
According to Stedman, while marijuana is not the most dangerous drug, it still is a harmful one, hurting the community.
“We’re dealing with an increase in drug related DUI's, when I started - there were hardly any drug related DUI's, and now we’re over 600 a year," explained. Stedman.
Stedman says people dealing marijuana are "predators... ripping at the fabric of our community."