ELKTON — A man has received an 18-month sentence relating to a criminal case in which investigators confiscated nearly 100 baggies of heroin — hidden in a box mounted on the exterior of a sport utility vehicle — during a traffic stop near Elkton in December.

Cecil County Circuit Court Judge William W. Davis Jr. imposed the 18-month sentence on Elkton-area resident Thomas Mitchell Ansalvish, 39, on Monday, moments after Ansalvish pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute as part of a plea deal.

In exchange for Ansalvish’s guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed several related charges.

Ansalvish was one of four people arrested and charged after investigators found 98 baggies of heroin during the traffic stop that occurred at about 7:45 p.m. Dec. 5 in the 1600 block of West Pulaski Highway (U.S. Route 40) — amid an ongoing investigation by the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office’s Street Level Crimes Unit, court records show.

“We had received complaints regarding illegal drug activity in the Whispering Pines community,” Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman, explained at that time, referring to a mobile home park off the 100 block of East Old Philadelphia Road (Route 7) near Elkton.

Three of the four suspects were living on Pinder Avenue in that neighborhood at the time, according to Cecil County District Court records.

On June 5, one of Ansalvish’s co-defendants, Jessica Rae Slate, 36, received a suspended one-year sentence and was placed on 18 months of supervised probation, after she pleaded guilty to possession of heroin as part of a plea deal.

That criminal case has been reopened by probation officers, however, because on June 20 — 15 days after her sentencing — Slate was was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine in the wake of an Elkton-area traffic stop, according to Cecil County Circuit Court records.

During courtroom hearings in April and May, prosecutors placed the criminal cases against Ansalvish’s remaining co-defendants — Jeremiah Johnson Bedwell, 28 and George Matthew Vinc, 39, also Elkton-area residents — on the stet, or inactive docket.

In a stetted case, prosecutors can opt to pursue prosecution at any point during a three-year period. However, during the last two years, the state must first convince the judge that probable cause exists to pursue prosecution.

Ansalvish and his co-defendants were arrested Dec. 5 after a CCSO deputy stopped a Dodge Durango driven by Slate on Route 40 near Elkton for a traffic violation and that led to a probable-cause search conducted, in part, because Slate and her three passengers already had been developed as drug suspects by SLCU investigator, police reported.

“We were familiar with the occupants of the vehicle,” Holmes commented at the time.

The search also was conducted after an Elkton Police Department K9 Unit was dispatched to the scene and a specially trained scent dog, “Niko,” alerted to the presence of illegal drugs, according to police.

“Searchers found 98 bags of heroin inside a black box that was attached to the outside of the vehicle,” said Holmes, declining to specify where on the vehicle investigators found the black box containing the heroin.

Some of the heroin packets had been marked with the street brand name “Chucky,” referencing a villainous children’s doll in a series of horror movies, police said. Above the logo was a crude reproduction of Chucky’s face, police added.

The other heroin baggies have the street brand name “White Bear,” accompanied by an image of a bear, police reported.

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