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Three county homes part of drug sweep Thursday


A multi-agency task force executed search warrants on three homes in LaGrange County Thursday morning, May 9, starting around 6 a.m.

Two Lima Township residences and one in Bloomfield Township were part of the sweep. Officers served two arrest warrants as the result of a drug investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department, a significant amount of cash and items used in the sale, delivery and distribution of narcotics were found and seized, along with several vehicles.

The sweep was part of a multi-agency effort that netted 20 arrests. According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Ft. Wayne, a Grand Jury sitting in Ft. Wayne returned 14 indictments in late March, charging several people with conspiracy to distribute narcotics as well as firearm charges.

The investigation reportedly began in March 2011 when the Ft. Wayne Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of the FBI, revealed the existence of a large scale narcotics distribution conspiracy operating in Northeast Indiana. The initial stages of the investigation identified Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia as an alleged drug supplier in the Steuben County area, and the subsequent use of several court authorized wiretaps of various telephones identified Manuel Herrera and Armando Herrera-Velasquez and others as operating an illegal drug supply network in Northeast Indiana.

A total of 20 individuals are named in the 14 indictments announced last week.

Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, 25, of Fremont, Ind., was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and the selling and transfer of a firearm to a known convicted felon.

On May 9, law enforcement arrested the following individuals in the Ft. Wayne area: Efren Paniagua-Pizano, Luis Tapia, Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, Guadalupe C. Luna, Armando Gonzalez-Gutierrez, Gerardo Martinez-Gaston, Juan Corona, Jose Noe Perea Casteneda, Jerry Sell, Maria P. Herrera, Cynthia L. Sanchez, Damian Dubose, Juan Pena, and Leobardo Gaona. Arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., were Manuel Herrera and Elida Herrera. Arrested in Michigan were Gelacio Martinez and John Bennett.

These charges were filed as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of FBI agents and officers from the Indiana State Police, Allen County Police Department, and the Fort Wayne Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service, Angola City Police Department, Elkhart County Interdiction and Covert Enforcement Unit, IMAGE Drug Task Force, Michigan State Police, New Haven Police Department, South Bend Police Department, and the Steuben County Sheriff's Department assisted with this investigation.