Drug suspect caught in parking lot | ParkRecord.com

Drug suspect caught in parking lot

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Authorities sprung an undercover drug operation on Thursday, arresting a suspected cocaine dealer in a Park City parking lot.

The Park City Police Department refuses to release details of the case, saying the investigation is continuing. Rick Ryan, a police captain, declines to release the name of the man arrested in the parking lot, on the 1600 block of Bonanza Drive and outside the offices of The Park Record.

Ryan says the authorities will charge the man with distribution of cocaine, but he is unsure of the level of the charge. He says the count could be a first-degree felony. People convicted of a first-degree felony face a sentence of between five years and life in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Ryan says the man was selling two one-gram bindles of cocaine to undercover officers when he was arrested. The captain says the officers then found six more cocaine bindles and $200 in cash. The cocaine bindles are valued at $100 each, according to Ryan.

"He’s a drug runner, somebody who kind of comes between different areas making deliveries when he’s ordered to make deliveries," Ryan says.

A drug task force made of law-enforcement agencies along the Wasatch Back had been investigating the man, but Ryan is unsure how long the case took to develop.

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Ryan says the case is part of a wider investigation into the local drug trade, but he declines to provide details. He says the man provided the authorities information, but Ryan will not discuss the questioning.

Ryan says the arrest occurred after what he describes as a "quick contact" over the phone in which the man told undercover officers to meet him in the parking lot. The man did not resist when he was apprehended.

The authorities descended on the parking lot Thursday afternoon, with a drug-sniffing dog feverishly searching for the narcotics. A few bystanders in the busy parking lot watched as the man was handcuffed and led into a patrol sport utility vehicle.

"I think most of the time they’re surprised," Ryan says about suspected drug dealers caught in undercover operations. "I think (they) clearly take the risk . . . the risk of being arrested."

In 2006, the last year for which statistics are available, the Park City Police Department arrested 72 people on drug charges, 23 of whom were juveniles. The overall number was the same as 2000.

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