Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
By Margie Wuebker
Authorities seize shipped drugs
  Twenty-one pounds of marijuana valued at nearly $27,000 were seized Monday afternoon after an Indiana man picked up a suspicious package at a Celina business.
Acting on a tip, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCI & I) alerted the Mercer County Sheriff's Office of the suspected pickup at a package delivery business in the Celina Industrial Park. Local efforts were mobilized in 90 minutes with BCI & I agents making a quick trip from the Bowling Green office.
Josue Perez, 19, of Indianapolis, picked up a cardboard box from an agent posing as a clerk shortly before 5 p.m. unaware that surveillance was in place. He was stopped a short time later in a parking lot near the intersection of Grand Lake Road and Wayne Street. Perez, who is also known as Thomas Sandoval, offered no resistance as sheriff's deputies and members of the Grand Lake Task Force approached his vehicle.
Sheriff Jeff Grey refused to disclose the name of the business where the drugs were picked up. He did say the business was not involved in the drug transaction.
Employees at United Parcel Service (UPS), located in the Celina Industrial Park, indicated they could not comment on the matter and referred all questions to the company's public relations representative. No call was received prior to presstime.
A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded the cardboard shipping box containing a plastic-wrapped bundle of marijuana with a street value of $800 to $3,000 per pound. The price depends on where the drug is sold, according to Grey.
Authorities also found more than $250 in cash and several identification cards bearing his picture but different names. The vehicle contained no weapons.
Perez was unable to communicate with authorities at the scene, but was taken to the Mercer County Jail, where Deputy Diana Contreras served as interpreter.
The investigation is continuing in hopes of determining who and where the package came from and whether Perez is in this country legally.
The case has been referred to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office for review and Perez remains incarcerated pending the filing of formal charges.
Grey is not surprised that drug traffickers leave metropolitan areas in favor of smaller communities.
"They think that we don't have the manpower or the resources to capture them," he added. "However, they do not know the success the task force continues to enjoy."
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Almost ready for first step
• Bremen man pleads innocent to rape of area MR/DD client
• Democrats still looking for replacement for retiring Celina auditor
• Council still rolling around issue of skate park
• Teens switch to veggies for meals
• Approval of new employee handbook nears completion
• Minimum wage increase to cost village more for its summer park employees
• Electrical power to continue during repairs
• Lift station to be replaced
• Indiana man heads back to prison on forgery charges
• Prescription painkillers found in ditch
• Celina looks to bounce back behind experience
• Veteran lineup gives Bulldogs optimism
• Coldwater ready for second year under Kanney
• Cavs look to ride momentum from regional trip
• Experience leaves Indians with high hopes
• Roessner confident about Indians' outlook
• Westrick used to late start at Marion Local
• Life without Moeller begins for Marion Local
• Injuries leave Minster shorthanded early on
• Experienced lineup returns for Wildcats
• New Bremen will look to build from inside out
• Cardinals looking to build on sectional crown
• Panthers will look to go uptempo this year
• Another new coach for Parkway girls hoops
• St. Henry boys will have new look this year
• Maier has inexperienced group at St. Henry
• Sadler inherits strong Roughriders team
• Roughriders looking to be a sleeper again
• McEldowney takes over talented Tigers squad
• Versailles looks like contender in MAC
• High hopes again this year for Celina swimming
• Post hoping to blend youth with solid veteran core
• Marion Local swimming low on participants
• Walter feels optimistic about Wildcats' season
• Experienced squad leaves Ritter with high hopes
• Roughriders will follow the lead from veteran Craft
• Versailles starts swimming program
• Celina grapplers looking to get back on top of WBL
• Alig looking for big things from Cavaliers again
• Expectations are high for St. Marys wrestling
• Roll has strong core to build around at Versailles
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