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Posted April 23, 2012 | comments 6 Comments

Man who fled pot deal turns self in

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER - A man sought by authorities since Friday after an attempted undercover drug sting in Frederick County turned himself in Monday.

Ronald B. Vivadelli, 29, has been charged with eluding law enforcement, but authorities have said he could face additional charges.

Authorities tried to arrest Vivadelli after a controlled delivery of marijuana to a home in Frederick County on Friday, but the suspect fled. Vivadelli led authorities on a manhunt into the night in the area of Walmart near Tasker Road and U.S. 522.

Agents of the Northwestern Regional Drug and Gang Task Force who set up a controlled delivery of marijuana to a residence in northern Frederick County met Vivadelli at the location shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, according to Lt. Allen Sibert of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and assigned to the task force.

The task force continued to do surveillance on the package. The suspect arrived in a black vehicle and picked up the package, Sibert said Friday.

Vivadelli drove away and agents followed. A sheriff's deputy attempted to perform a traffic stop, according to Sibert.

"At that time he ran with the vehicle, pulled into a wooded area on an old logging road and got out on foot, ran into the woods," Sibert said.

Authorities set up a perimeter, called in K9 units from Frederick County Sheriff's Office and a helicopter crew with the Maryland State Police flew in to assist in the search.

Law enforcement did not find the suspect in the area though they continued to follow up on other leads which helped agents obtain an identity for the suspect and find his residence, Sibert said. Agents executed a search warrant at his home and located some items seized in the investigation but did not find the suspect.

Authorities focused their search in the area of Tasker Road, Macedonia Church Road and U.S. 522.

They called off the search in the wooded area around 8 p.m.

Agents searched the vehicle the suspect abandoned and found an empty gun holster. Sibert said authorities initially presumed the suspect took the firearm with him but, through further investigation, found the weapon at another residence in the area.

"I mean he obviously still could have been armed as anybody but, you know, with that empty holster we were definitely encouraged that he had a weapon but right now indications are he is not armed," Sibert said.

Just finding who had picked up the package took footwork.

The person listed on the package does not live in the area so agents had no clue who would pick up the marijuana, according to Sibert. Upon running the license plate of the vehicle investigators found out that the owner is in the military but currently deployed in Afghanistan, Sibert said.

"But he was obviously our prime suspect due to the fact that it was his car," Sibert said. "Narrowing our short list of suspects it could've been, right now we don't believe that that person had anything to do with it and the suspect that we are pursuing does not as we know have any military training."

The vehicle owner does know the suspect though, Sibert added.

Agents searched the vicinity of U.S. 522 and Reardon Road because they found that the suspect's sister had lived in that area, according to Sibert.

The package went to a home at another location in the county which Sibert did not wish to identify. But Sibert did note the residents who live at the location "have nothing to do with the package" and actually were not in the area at the time of the incident.

"So we still have to figure out how the person knew, how our suspect knew that they would not be home ... to actually have that package delivered at that residence," Sibert said.

But the agent noted this practice is common among drug dealers who use postal services to deliver contraband. Often a person sends the drugs to a neighbor's house or a "friend of a friend's" house, or someone who is not going to be home, decreasing the chances they are caught, Sibert said.

Authorities had not reached the residents as of Friday to find out how the suspect would know they had left town, Sibert added.

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