Two free on bail after $600K drug arrest

By on January 18, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

The couple arrested and charged with possession of $600,000 worth of marijuana and three loaded handguns found in their vehicles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike were released on bail last Thursday.

Hearings were scheduled for Jan. 19 but may be continued for Deborah Denise Finn, 50, of Austin, Texas, and Harland Dean Hendricks Jr., 45, of Eldorado, Calif., according to Trooper Justin Hope of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Police said the two were traveling eastbound in separate vehicles when police pulled them over in Rapho and East Cocalico townships and discovered the marijuana and handguns Jan. 10.

Hope saw a Ford Excursion closely following a pickup truck pulling a trailer with a boat on the turnpike shortly before 2 p.m. After watching the two vehicles make several lane changes together, he pulled over Finn, who was the driver of the SUV, for following another vehicle too closely. The pickup truck, which had a Texas license plate, continued traveling east.

"Initially she said she was alone," said Hope, who added that Finn claimed to be heading to New Jersey and was not with the pickup truck.

Police’s criminal complaints stated the following:

Finn’s registration card identified the owner as Harlan Hendricks. She then told the trooper that she was headed to Massachusetts as he detected the smell of marijuana coming from within the vehicle.

The driver consented to a search of her vehicle after she claimed to have three handguns for personal protection as well as $15,000 to $30,000 in cash for foot surgery. Police found large bundles of money in a paper bag, some of which had been vacuum-sealed, three loaded handguns and two packages of rolling papers. She said she did not have a permit to carry the guns.

Prior to the search of Finn’s vehicle, Hope contacted another trooper, Stranier, telling him to look for a the truck hauling the trailer because he believed the two vehicles had been traveling together. Stranier located the second vehicle, which he then pulled over after observing it traveling in excess of the speed limit.

The driver, Hendricks, told him he was traveling to New Hope to visit a friend and go fishing. He claimed his wife was traveling behind him, also to New Hope, in a Ford Excursion. He said she would be having foot surgery for which she would need to pay a $5,000 deductible. Stranier smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

After sharing the couple’s conflicting stories with each other, the troopers searched the truck and found a large bag containing several bags of marijuana.

Police then obtained a search warrant for the pickup and found 200 pounds of hydro marijuana, ecstacy pills, a glass smoking bowl, a personal-use amount of marijuana, a small baggie containing suspected ecstasy, a gun cleaning kit, two vacuum sealer machines, several vacuum bags and $3,000 in Hendricks’ jacket pocket.

As previously reported in the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, police said the hydro marijuana is the highest quality available in the country and sells at a minimum of $3,000 per pound on the street because of the way it’s grown, using hydroponics.

Finn and Hendricks were both charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, conspiracy, possession of drug paraphernalia and firearms violations, police said. Hendricks was also charged with possession of drugs. The total amount of cash found was $40,000, police said.

The two were arraigned and committed to Lancaster County Prison.

Hope said the couple was engaged, not married like Hendricks originally claimed. Hearings for the two were set for Jan. 19 before Judge Hamill, but will likely not happen until a later date.

"They (the hearings) are going to get continued because they both posted bail and weren’t in contact with their attorneys," he explained. More ARREST, page A10

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