Brookville Man Busted Following Multi-Agency Drug Trafficking Investigation

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – A Brookville man has landed in the Jefferson County Jail following a multi-agency investigation into the trafficking of marijuana from California to Pennsylvania.

Christopher Raymond Lee, 35, was arraigned Monday before District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak on the following charges:

  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver, Felony
  • Criminal Use Of Communication Facility, Felony 3
  • Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor (21 counts)

The charges were filed as part of a joint investigation being conducted by the Jefferson County Drug Task Force in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the United States Postal Inspectors.

The investigation involved the trafficking, manufacturing, sales, and consumption of marijuana within Jefferson County.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that marijuana was being shipped in parcels from California to Pennsylvania.

A criminal complaint filed Monday by Brookville Police Department Officer Vince Markle indicated suspicious packages were being sent to 225 Tomski Road in Brookville – the home of Christopher Raymond Lee.

“Markle was made aware of suspicious persons loitering outside of 225 Tomski Road on the days that packages originating in California were delivered,” according to the criminal complaint.

Further investigation was conducted in conjunction with inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service.

“Through experience gained in drug investigations by postal inspectors and other law enforcement agents, and through information provided by individuals who have been involved in buying, selling, and shipping drugs by Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, the Postal Inspection Service has established a drug profile consisting of characteristics frequently shared by parcels containing controlled substances mailed through the United States Postal Service,” said Officer Markle in the criminal complaint.

The Pittsburgh Office of the Postal Inspection Service utilizes this profile to screen Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express parcels received at postal facilities.

The criminal complaint continues, “Postal Inspectors, special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and other intelligence sources have identified California as a source state for illegal drugs flowing into Pennsylvania and a destination state for drug proceeds flowing out of Pennsylvania.”

The criminal complaint indicates suspicious packages addressed to 225 Tomski Road were received by the U.S. Postal Service on October 24 and November 1.

According to the criminal complaint, the November 1 package had a return address labeled Nikki Orona of De Soto Avenue, Chatsworth, California.

Vucko, a Pennsylvania State Police drug detection dog, was requested to conduct a narcotics search at a post office in Pittsburgh where the package was received.

Vucko is certified as a drug detection dog for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Vucko has been used in numerous police searches and training exercises and has shown a high proficiency in locating hidden drugs, according to court documents.

The dog – accompanied by his handler Trooper Steven Lucia – examined the parcel and positively identified the presence of a controlled substance.

U.S. Postal Inspector Kiera Fludd applied for and was granted a warrant to search the suspect parcel.

Around 12:30 p.m. on November 1, the contents were inspected by U.S. Postal Inspector Koble and Officer Markle.

“The contents had the appearance and odor consistent with what (Markle) knows to be marijuana,” according to the criminal complaint.

The parcel was repackaged for delivery by U.S. Postal Inspectors.

An anticipatory search warrant was issued, and the package was delivered to 225 Tomski Road.

Around 2:25 p.m., U.S. Postal Inspector Koble notified Officer Markle that the package was opened.

The search warrant was subsequently served at Lee’s residence.

Through the course of the search, three Priority Mail boxes containing multiple baggies of marijuana were located.

Mulitple drug paraphernalia items were also found in the home, according to the criminal complaint.

The items were transported to the Brookville Police Department and logged into evidence.

Later that day, Lee was interviewed and provided the following statement:

“On November 01, 2017, I received a package of 1 lb. (of) marijuana from my aunt’s friend Nikki from California. I would send money to my aunt via PayPal, and she would pay Nikki, and Nikki would mail it to me. My wife and kids knew nothing about this, and I am completely responsible for it all alone. I personally deal with three guys around here.”

Lee was placed in the Jefferson County Jail after failing to post $150,000.00 cash bail.

A preliminary hearing is slated for November 20 at 10:15 a.m. with Judge Bazylak presiding.

It’s unclear if charges will be filed against the two women from California.

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