Drugs, cash and ‘ghost gun’ found in joint state bust – The Mercury
WEST CHESTER — A Delaware man who Chester County police charged with having a large amount of cocaine was later found to have a significant stash of other illegal drugs as well as a “ghost gun” at his home in Wilmington, according to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
The D.A.’s Office and Delaware State Police on Thursday announced the arrest of Wilmington resident Artemio Garcia-Laniz on charges of possession with intent to deliver, illegal possession of firearms, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and other offenses.
A total of $520,000 in drugs were seized, along with over $9,000 in cash and the ghost gun — a self-assembled weapon with parts that are available on the internet and meant to avoid normal firearm sale regulations.
Said District Attorney Deb Ryan in a statement, “(Garcia-Laniz’) intent on pushing this poison into our communities will not be tolerated. His criminal behavior shows he has no regard for human life or the devastating toll this has on our loved ones.
“My office will now hold him fully accountable for his actions,” Ryan said.
According to the release, on Mar. 10 in Kennett Square, after an arranged meeting with the defendant and a confidential informant for a drug purchase, Chester County Detectives arrested Garcia-Laniz for the alleged possession of three kilos of cocaine, valued at $300,000, and more than $1,100 in cash found in his vehicle.
Later that day, the Delaware State Police executed a search warrant at his home in the 300 block of 4th Avenue in Wilmington. There, they said they found 600 grams of heroin, 120 grams of crystal meth, 3.8 kilos of THC extract, two pounds of marijuana, $8,228 in cash, and a black “ghost” handgun with no serial number or manufacture markings.
The gun had a magazine inserted with four 9mm Luger rounds of ammunition. Police also recovered an extended magazine containing 28 9mm Luger rounds of ammunition and a box of Blazer 9mm Luger ammunition.
In addition to the drugs, gun, ammunition, and cash, detectives found a digital scale and numerous plastic baggies used for packaging drugs at the home. The total value of the drugs recovered in Wilmington was $145,000.
County detectives later seized a 25-pound package containing marijuana, valued at $75,000, in Penn on Mar. 14. Charges against the defendant are pending in this case.
“Investigations such as these demonstrate the reality that drug trafficking knows no borders, and cross-jurisdictional collaboration is essential to stem the flow of drugs into our region,” said Jerry Daley, executive director of the region’s High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force.
“The cooperative efforts across state lines … represent how effective these partnerships can be.”
Garcia-Laniz, 29, is now being held at Chester County Prison on $100,000 bail, after he was arraigned by Magisterial District Justice Albert Iacocca of Kennett Square. His preliminary hearing is set for Mar. 23.
Michelle Thurstlic-O’Neill is the assigned prosecutor.
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.
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