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Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Authorities seize shipped drugs

By Margie Wuebker
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."
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Additional online stories on this date
MINSTER - Changes in cafeteria offerings equate to dollars in the Minster school district.
Treasurer Laura Klosterman told board of education members profits were up $6,800 in October as a result of pizza days, ala carte selections and menu changes. [More]
With the history of success that St. Henry and Marion Local have had in football, it's no surprise that the two long-time rivals are both playing in state championship games this weekend. [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
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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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