Prosecutors push for higher bail in heroin cases

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said it was a good day when drug task force detectives arrested 59-year-old Angel Galarza.

Detectives found more than 1,200 bags of heroin and more than $35,000 when they searched some of Galarza’s property, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said. Galarza is considered a “high-level” heroin dealer.

“This is just what we found in the locations we knew where he kept the drugs and cash,” spokesman Brett Hambright said.

Galarza was placed in Lancaster County Prison on a federal detainer. Hambright said without that detainer, Galarza’s bail would be $75,000.

“We’ve had some frustration with the bail system not being consistent enough across the board with our high-level dealers,” he said.

Hambright said they can point to at least five other cases where bail wasn’t high enough for heroin dealers. He said without appropriate bail, the dealers are free to push their drugs while the cases make their way through the legal system.

“These dealers know the system,” Hambright said. “In a sense, they are businessmen within an illegal trade and they know how things work, and they have connections and means to get the cash whether they are in or out.”

Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker said the law treats defendants as innocent until proven guilty. He added that bail is not uniform and there are many factors that go into it.

“From a fundamental fairness standpoint, if you can’t point to a something specific that is justification for having this person sit in prison while the case is playing out — before that guilty or innocence decision is made — then the answer probably shouldn’t be in prison,” he said.

Hambright said the prosecutors would like to see a system where bail is uniform, but Reinaker said he doesn’t see that working because every case is unique.

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