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June 12, 2012

Prosecutor says itxs the largest drug bust in recent Ripley Co. history
$300,000 worth of heroin confiscated

Wanda English Burnett

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.

The fight against cancer continues Saturday June 16

Kari Moore
Contributing Writer

This weekend many members of the Ripley County community are coming together to celebrate, remember, and fight back against cancer. Chairperson Jeni Schnebelt and crew have been working hard planning the 17th annual Relay For Life of Ripley County.

The Relay For Life story began in the mid-1980s when Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Washington decided to personally raise money to support his local American Cancer Society (ACS) and his patients who battled cancer.

In May 1985, Klatt ran over 83 miles at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, with friends donating money to run or walk with him for 30 minutes. Klatt's efforts raise $27,000 to fight cancer.

That night Klatt thought up the idea of a 24-hour team relay event that would raise money to fight cancer. The first Relay event was the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer. Klatt's vision turned into the Relay For Life.

Since its inception, Relay For Life has had numerous events in the United States and raised billions of dollars to save lives. The ACS even has 20 non-government cancer organizations in other countries that hold Relay For Life events!

In May 2012, Dr. Klatt announced he had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer, giving a new reason to relay for many relayers across the country.

So what is Relay For Life? It is an overnight family-friendly, relay-style event where teams of people camp out around a track, and members or volunteers of each team take turns walking or running around the track for 24 hours. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track for the duration of the event because a person's daily battle with cancer never stops. There will be fun, food, games, and entertainment for people of all ages.

Opening Ceremonies for Relay For Life will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Batesville High School Track on Saturday, June 16. Relay starts with laps celebrating the victories of cancer survivors and caregivers.

"Survivors are the VIP's at Relay," said Schnebelt, "they are the proof that cancer can be fought and won!"

A Survivor's Breakfast follows at 8:30 a.m. for survivors in the community to come together and share their experience with cancer.

"One of the most noticeable changes at this year's Relay For Life will be that we have moved the survivor tent next to the track," said Schnebelt. "The survivors will get to be a part of all the activities going on. This area will also offer a covered area with tables and chairs for everyone to come and sit to watch everything happening on the stage."

Also new this year is a "Coney's For A Cure" lunch and a bar-b-que dinner in addition to other food being offered.

At 3:00 p.m. a Fight Back Rally is set to take place. This is a time where those in attendance get encouragement to make a personal commitment to take up the fight against cancer.

At 9:30 p.m. the Luminaria Ceremony will take place, honoring those who have been touched by cancer and remembering loved ones lost to the disease.

Guest speaks are invited to share their stories and candles are placed inside luminaria bags lining the track, bearing the names of people touched by cancer. "Following the ceremony, participants walk a silent lap around the track to give respect to those who have fallen ill with cancer or to those whose lives were lost," said Schnebelt.

For those in attendance needing a few moments of relaxation, Schnebelt said there is a team offering massages for all 24 hours of the event.

Perhaps two of the favorite Relay activities, Relay's Got Talent and Dude Looks Like a Lady/Lady Looks Like a Dude are back this year. Relay's Got Talent is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. and Dude Looks Like a Lady/Lady Looks Like a Dude will start at 1:00 a.m.

There is a full 24 hours of family fun activities planned. "There will be live bands, kid's games and activities, a purse auction, a silent auction, Relay Olympics and so many more activities," said Schnebelt.

What are the proceeds raised through Relay For Life used for? The funds that the Relay For Life raises go towards cancer research and helping patients.

• The Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.

• Funds provide cancer patients with rides to treatments when they are unable to drive themselves.

• Monies help provide trained cosmetologists to teach individuals how to cope with skin changes and hair loss.

• Provides college scholarships for students with a history of cancer.

• Helps people get well, stay well, and find cures to fight back against cancer.

The 2012 Relay For Life of Ripley County Committee invites the public to join them on Saturday, June 16 - Sunday June, 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and help them celebrate, remember, and fight back against cancer.

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.
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