Toll Road stop in Portage nets $286,000 worth of drugs, 2 arrests
By Erin Guerra Post-Tribune correspondent January 23, 2013 9:36PM
Garry Rojas, arrested in seizure of heroin in Porter County. January 23, 2013. Porter County Jail. Sun-Times Media.
Updated: February 25, 2013 12:44PM
PORTAGE — Police seized $286,000 worth of cocaine and heroin and arrested two New York men during a traffic stop Wednesday on the Indiana Toll Road.
A Porter County Sheriff’s Department officer stopped the vehicle at 9:55 a.m. at mile marker 25, in Portage, for several minor moving and equipment violations, including unsafe lane movement and windows tinted too dark.
The driver, Garry Rojas, 40, and passenger, Carlos Pena, 33, gave vastly different explanations for their trip and even how they knew each other, police said.
Their conflicting stories and the fact the vehicle was rented were contributing indicators suggesting the transportation of drugs, said Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.
A canine handler brought Argo to the scene, and the dog indicted the presence of narcotics.
When a dog “alerts,” “That vehicle is ours. That is our probable cause to search,” LaFlower said.
Officers reported finding 4 kilos of cocaine and 2.8 kilos of heroin; approximately 8.8 pounds and 6.16 pounds, respectively.
Police transported Rojas and Pena to Porter County Jail on charges of possession of cocaine and possession of a narcotic drug, both Class A felonies because of the quantities involved. A conviction on a Class A offense carries a sentence of 20 years to 50 years, according to Indiana sentencing guidelines.
The officers involved in the seizure and arrest are part of the sheriff’s department’s Flex team.
The Flex team was created in 2009 to free a group of officers from their routine duties so they can address larger crime issues of the day.