Man tried to get pot through Schererville, Merrillville UPS stores
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 23, 2012 2:14PM
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:47AM
SCHERERVILLE — Police Wednesday arrested a South Bend man using local UPS stores to receive packages of marijuana from Texas.
Charges of felony possession of marijuana and dealing in marijuana are expected to be filed with the Lake County Prosecutor’s office Friday against Benjamin Rangel, 23, of South Bend for his role picking up the packaged drugs at the stores, according to Schererville Police Commander Mike Vode.
Vode said police were notified of a suspicious package by employees of the UPS store in the 200 block of U.S. 30. He said employees noticed the suspicious contents of the package because it was partially opened.
“The packaged was usually addressed to an alleged female in town and a male would pick it up,” Vode said.
The Special Operations Task Force set up surveillance of the store to wait for the suspect to retrieve the package. Once Rangel picked up the package, he was confronted by police and taken into custody.
Police seized 10 pounds of marijuana between the package and what Rangel had.
Vode said UPS employees can recall at least three instances where similarly addressed packages were picked up in the same way. Vode said police do not believe it was isolated to the Schererville UPS store.
“This was actually occurring at several UPS stores,” Vode said. Other sites included Merrillville and Lowell. “We believe he had already made a pick-up at the UPS store in Lowell.”
Along with the marijuana, police recovered $1,000 in cash. Rangel is being held at the Lake County Jail.