Bethlehem police found a “softball-sized” plastic bag stuffed with marijuana on the nightstand next to the bed of a city teen implicated in a string of armed robberies of area convenience stores in July, according to court papers.
As a result, Luis Enrique Ortiz, 19, of 618 Atlantic St., was formally charged Tuesday with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a first-degree felony.
Ortiz was already facing multiple felony counts of robbery for his part in the armed robberies – allegedly committed with three other area teens – in Bethlehem, Allentown and Palmer Township.
City detectives were conducting a warrant search of Ortiz’s home on July 20 as part of the robbery investigation when they made the drug discovery, according to court papers.
The arrest affidavit also says that police found two plastic bags filled with 150 glassine baggies “consistent with packaging illegal narcotics,” and 14 packages of wide rolling paper “consistent with smoking illegal narcotics.”
Police also charged Ortiz with possession of drug paraphernalia.
The search was made in a third-floor bedroom where Ortiz lives two days after he and two of his alleged robbery accomplices, Ashley Horning and Ashley Eskaff, were caught outside of a 7-Eleven at 2930 Linden St. that they were apparently planning to rob.
Horning, 17, told police after the arrest that the teens were committing the robberies “for the money and the thrill.”
Ortiz was arraigned on the new drug charges before District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez, who set bail at $150,000. Ortiz is currently being held at Northampton County Prison.