Possibly the largest drug bust of heroin in Ripley County's history went down on June 2 when Indiana State Trooper James A. Wells made a routine traffic stop on Interstate 74 in Ripley County.
According to information from Prosecutor Ric Hertel, Diana Campos Uribe was driving the car and had a passenger, Daniel Castrejon Jolano with her. Both are from the Chicago area, but police have still not been able to nail down their exact ages.
During the stop Trooper Wells requested a canine unit respond to search the car. The canine unit indicated there could be drugs and Trooper Wells proceeded to search the car. He located a trap door beneath the car's trunk where there were two bundles/bricks of what appeared to be drugs.
The trooper identified the substances as heroin. When they were later weighed it was discovered that each bundle or brick as they are referred to, weighed about 1 kilogram, which is 2.2 pounds.
Together they amounted to about what a bag of sugar would be, however, the price difference is staggering. Prosecutor Hertel told the Osgood Journal that the street value is about $300,000 for both packages, making the value about $150.00 a gram. Trooper Wells removed 2,000 grams from the hidden compartment.
The prosecutor said this drug bust is likely the largest in recent Ripley County history. He noted the heroin's ultimate destination was Cincinnati, which means more than likely some of it would have filtered into Ripley County again into the hands of drug users.
"Trooper Wells did an outstanding job," Hertel noted, saying without this trooper's training, efforts, diligence and understanding of the drug trade, these controlled substances would not have even been discovered and taken off the streets. The prosecutor went on to say there has been an influx of heroin in recent years, something police, along with other groups, are working on to stop.
Initial hearings were initially set for June 5, but had to be rescheduled due to the court requiring interpreters for both suspects.
At their June 7 hearings they were both charged with Conspiracy to Deal a Narcotic Drug and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Narcotic Drug. Both crimes are Class A Felonies and are punishable by 20 to 50 years in prison.
Trial date for the two has been set for November 7, 2012. Bail was set in the amount of one million dollars for each due to them both having multiple alias's, no ties to the community and the severity of the offenses.
Trafficking drugs has reached an all new level of ingenuity. Like the above bust where the drugs were stored in a trap door, ISP Trooper Randel Miller made a traffic stop on I-65 at Seymour where the driver, Ubaldo Lopez-Gonzalez of Indianapolis, had never been issued a driver's license.
Through the course of good police work, Trooper Miller would determine that the suspect had drugs inside his body. He was taken to Schneck Medical Hospital in Seymour where an X-ray showed something "unusual" in his abdomen. He was given laxatives and later passed seven balloons which contained brown powder heroin.
Lopez-Gonzalez was later transported to the Jackson County Jail where he faces several felony counts. He was also in the United States illegally, so Immigration and Customs Enforcement were notified and have put a hold on the suspect.
Police are patrolling the highways and with their special training and attentive behavior, are thwarting some of the drug traffic that flows through otherwise quiet areas.
If you know about or suspect illegal drug use and abuse there is a tip line you can call to report this. Call 855-812-3784 to report and remain anonymous.
Defendants in all cases are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.