Christopher Heath

Former Yuba County sheriff's Deputy Christopher M. Heath

According to charging documents filed against a Yuba-Sutter drug task force agent, the Yuba County sheriff's deputy admitted he drove packages of marijuana from California to Pennsylvania.

Christopher "Mark" Heath, 37, was arrested along with Tyler Neil Long, 31, and Ryan Jay Falsone, 27, by West Mannheim Township Police. The three were transporting 122 packages of marijuana on Monday, according to documents filed in York County, Penn.

The three Butte County residents were booked into York County Prison, each with $1 million bail. They were released after posting bail Tuesday.

Heath was on vacation from the Yuba County Sheriff's Department during his trip across the country and is accused of the very type of crime he investigated during his last three years as a NET-5 drug task force agent.

All three men are charged with three felonies: two counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs and one count of conspiracy with intent to deliver drugs. They are scheduled to appear in a Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 11.

Police in the rural town said the three were arrested while delivering the packages to another person, and they were found in possession of about 122 packages, each of which contained about a pound of weed.

Long and Heath admitted to bringing the packages from California, according to documents.

Their residences in Butte County have been searched in the last few days, and the investigation may lead to additional arrests.

In his role with NET-5, Heath has led the investigation of at least 62 criminal cases, many of which were large marijuana-related cases in Yuba County, said NET-5 Commander Martin Horan.

Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath said his office is reviewing cases involving Heath to determine if the cases are still viable.

Heath was hired as a correctional officer in November 2003 and was promoted to deputy sheriff in January 2007. He is on administrative leave from the sheriff's department, pending an investigation.

CONTACT reporter Monica Vaughan at 749-4783.

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