Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Charge filed in drug pickup
By Margie Wuebker
A 19-year-old Arizona woman faces one felony count of drug trafficking after she allegedly came to Celina on Friday afternoon to pick up a package containing approximately 25 pounds of marijuana.
Mariela K. Escobar, of San Luis, appeared Monday afternoon for an arraignment hearing in Celina Municipal Court. Judge James Scheer increased bond to $1 million as requested by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.
Escobar remains incarcerated in Putnam County as the Mercer County Jail has no facilities for housing female prisoners. Although no date has been set for a preliminary hearing, the proceeding could take place as early as Friday.
The case likely will be presented to a Mercer County grand jury scheduled to meet later this week.
The third-degree felony carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
Escobar has no prior criminal record, according to a search by Celina Police.
Celina Police were notified someone would likely pick up a suspicious package believed to contain drugs at the local United Parcel Service center in the Celina Industrial Park. Police, along with members of the Grand Lake Task Force and deputies from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, were waiting. The stop took place shortly after 4 p.m. Friday in the area of Grand Lake Road and Industrial Drive.
"We received information from outside contacts and worked with United Parcel employees," Police Chief Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard. "The suspect offered no resistance."
The cardboard package, addressed to the suspect, contained a compacted bundle of marijuana securely wrapped in paper and plastic. The drug reportedly has a street value in excess of $15,000.
Officers also seized a 1995 Cadillac bearing Indiana license plates and approximately $430 in cash at the time of the traffic stop and arrest.
Police, along with other law enforcement agencies, continue to investigate the incident as well as the flow of drugs into this area.