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The original item was published from 3/1/2016 9:21:01 AM to 4/30/2016 5:10:06 PM.

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District Attorney

Posted on: March 1, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Heroin Dealer Skips Court; Judge Orders Jail Sentence Anyway

Waldemar Mercado-Cruz

A heroin dealer was a no-show for sentencing Monday in Lancaster County Court regarding a conviction that he had $25,000 worth of drugs in downtown Lancaster.

County Judge James Cullen went on without Waldemar Mercado-Cruz and ordered a 4½ -to-10-year state-prison term.

That sentence was in the high-end range of state guidelines. Mercado-Cruz, 35, has a prior drug-dealing conviction, according to Assistant District Attorney Maria Cusick, who won the trial conviction.

Meanwhile, a warrant was issued for Mercado-Cruz’s arrest. Lancaster County’s Fugitive Recover Team has custody of the warrant.

Mercado-Cruz previously lived in Philadelphia and Puerto Rico.

Judge Cullen convicted him at a non-jury trial in December.

Cusick presented evidence that Mercado-Cruz had 98 grams of heroin in his vehicle on March 29, 2014, when police contacted him in the 100 block of East King Street.

That amount of heroin, when broken down for individual sales, would yield about 300 bundles – with an estimated street value of $25,000.

Mercado-Cruz had $290 in cash and three cellphones, but told police he didn’t have a job, city police reported.

Following the verdict, Cusick requested that Judge Cullen raise Mercado-Cruz’s bail to $500,000 due to his connections outside Lancaster County. He had been free on bail throughout the trial. Bail was kept at $150,000.

Lancaster city police Officers Jonathan Reppert and Anthony Weaver investigated the case.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;; Twitter: @BrettHambright

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