Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 2016
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Monica Vaughan


NET-5, the Yuba-Sutter drug and gang task force, will be audited by 
an outside party following the arrest of one of its agents.

A Yuba County sheriff's deputy who was recently arrested in 
Pennsylvania on charges of trafficking 247 pounds of marijuana had 
worked with the multi-agency task force for three years.

Christopher "Mark" Heath was the lead investigator on 62 NET-5 cases 
and it is unclear, at this point, where the marijuana seized by 
Pennsylvania authorities came from.

Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper is the chair of the 
council that oversees NET-5.

"We have not found anything that links anything found in Pennsylvania 
to a criminal investigation in the task force, but we are early in 
the investigation," Hopper said.

For a thorough investigation, the council agreed to hire an outside 

"The council has initiated a complete audit of the NET-5 task force - 
a complete organizational review from top to bottom - to make sure 
this is an isolated incident," Hopper said Wednesday.

Who will perform the audit was not yet released.

"It's important that we have an outside entity that is familiar with 
the field but does not know anybody at the task force," Hopper said.

Yuba and Sutter county public safety agencies will pay for it.

NET-5 Commander Martin Horan said he began reviewing Heath's cases on 
Dec. 30, the day after his arrest.

Also unknown at this point is how the arrest of an investigating 
officer might affect the status of some cases.


Booked into Butte County Jail on Thursday

A Yuba County sheriff's deputy facing drug charges in Pennsylvania 
was arrested Thursday in Butte County, according to a jail spokeswoman.

Christopher "Mark" Heath, 37, was arrested just after 10 a.m. on a 
charge of illegally possessing an assault weapon. His bail was set at $15,000.

The spokeswoman said he is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Butte County sheriff's deputies arrested Heath. No one from the 
Sheriff's Office was available for comment on Thursday night.

Sheriff's deputies searched four properties in Butte County linked to 
Heath last month, according to search warrants filed in Butte County 
Superior Court.

They were looking for illegal firearms, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Heath and two alleged accomplices were arrested last month in York 
County, Pa., after they allegedly tried to deliver 247 pounds of pot, 
valued at about $2 million.

They are due in a Pennsylvania courtroom next month.
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