Man held after pound of heroin discovered
By Erin Guerra Post-Tribune correspondent July 10, 2014 11:12PM
Updated: July 11, 2014 2:02AM
VALPARAISO — Police seized $100,000 worth of heroin in a traffic stop Tuesday on the Indiana Toll Road, and the driver’s initial hearing will be Friday.
Carlos Barrientos, 34, of Cicero, Ill., is charged with possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. The level 2 felony carries a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years.
Detective Alfred Villarreal, with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, made the arrest as part of a regional cooperative High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force.
According to charges filed in Porter Superior Court in front of Judge William Alexa, Villareal noticed Barrientos’s silver Ford Edge at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday because it was travelling east at 85 mph, noticeably faster than the rest of traffic, which also was speeding. Villareal stopped the Ford near the Porter/LaPorte county line. Barrientos was driving, a juvenile was in the front passenger seat, and Barrientos’s mother was in the back seat.
Villarreal questioned Barrientos and his mother separately. Barrientos reportedly said they were going to a birthday party in South Bend, while his mother told police she was just along for a ride and did not know where they were going.
Villarreal released Barrientos with a verbal warning, then asked if he could do a quick search of the car. Barrientos said it “would be no problem,” according to the charging paperwork.
The detective found and pried open a hidden compartment in the dashboard, which contained a brown brick of compressed powered heroin, weighing about one pound, police said.
“This amount of heroin would likely be diluted before being packaged in individual bags of one-tenth of a gram which would then be sold to addicts on the streets. Packaged in this fashion, the seized heroin is worth approximately $100,000,” Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said in a press release.
Barrientos is being held at the Porter County Jail; bond will be set Friday.