The arrest of a Ferndale man accused of smuggling 60 pounds of marijuana Monday led police to a storage unit with a stash of narcotics, including 8 pounds of an ecstasy-style drug sealed into bulk-sized sugar bags, Fentanyl and hundreds of pills, Johnstown Police said.
According to police Capt. Chad Miller, city, county and federal law enforcement officials executed a search warrant Wednesday on a Stonycreek Township storage unit rented by 27-year-old Andrew Colvin, leading to a large quantity of illegal drugs, a 9mm Glock handgun and black market marijuana “edibles,” Miller said.
Police said the stockpile is valued at more than $200,000, in addition to $300,000 worth of marijuana seized Monday.
Miller said the sugar bags contained MDA, which goes by the street name “Sally” – a hallucinogenic party drug similar to ecstasy but oftentimes carrying higher stimulant properties.
“This drug goes for $60 to $100 a gram,” he added.
Eight pounds is the equivalent of 3,628 grams in weight.
Colvin now faces 23 criminal charges, 15 of them related to the drugs police say they discovered inside the storage unit Wednesday night. Police said their investigation showed Colvin was renting the unit on a month-to-month basis.
Johnstown Police Officer Beau Gardner and his K9 Thor arrived at the scene and walked the property. When they reached Colvin’s unit, the dog indicated it detected the scent of narcotics, leading investigators to seek a search warrant on the unit, Cambria County Drug Task Force Detective Brett Hinterliter wrote in a criminal complaint.
Among the drugs seized as evidence:
• 7 “baggies” of suspected cocaine
• 3 “baggies” of crystal meth
• 11 bags of a brown crystal substance, possibly crystal meth
• Suboxone strips.
• 217 THC inserts for vape pens
• 15 vacuum-sealed bags, six other bags and six jars of suspected marijuana
• 7 jars of THC “wax”
• 143 pills
• 394 Nerds Rope “edibles” containing 400 mg of THC
• 5 vapes for marijuana use
• 20 pack of THC vapes
• 1 Glock handgun
Police said a check written to Colvin was also found inside the storage unit.
The Johnstown Police Department, Cambria County Drug Task Force, Cambria County District Attorneys Office and FBI Safe Streets Task Force partnered in the investigation after city police arrested Colvin in a traffic stop that yielded 60 pounds of shrink-wrapped marijuana two days earlier.
According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, Colvin was pulled over on Bedford Street after he almost struck a pedestrian at a crosswalk Monday.
The vehicle Colvin was traveling in had its wipers running and headlights off – and the Ferndale man was arrested after he failed field sobriety tests at the scene, police said.
City police estimated the $300,000 in illegal marijuana was packaged inside his trunk.
News about the arrest caught the attention of the pro-marijuana crowd – even at the state’s Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman used social media to Tweet “Legalize it” above a link to the story Thursday, before additional charges were filed against Colvin.
Miller acknowledged attitudes toward the drug have been changing in recent years – but said that until laws change, illegally distributed marijuana is still a criminal offense and police have a duty to enforce those laws.
And in this case, it led to a larger investigation that took hundreds of thousands of dollars in potent narcotics such as heroin and crystal meth off the street, he added.
Miller also noted that the discovery of THC-containing “edibles” is also cause for concern – even more so with the Halloween season approaching.
“Edibles” – in this case, THC-containing marijuana products sold as candy – are illegal in any form in Pennsylvania, but are popular on the black market.
Miller warned that they can often be packaged like regular candy, making them hard to distinguish as harmful to children.
He urged parents to remain vigilant in searching their children’s trick-or-treat bags for harmful substances before allowing them to consume anything.
Colvin remained in Cambria County Prison on Thursday after failing to post bond, which was set at $75,000 on his first case and $500,000 for the charges related to the storage unit search, district court staff said.