A LaGrange Police Department officer initiated a routine traffic stop early Wednesday morning that ended up being anything but routine.
The officer stopped a Chrysler Town and Country minivan around 1:20 a.m. on May 23 on SR 9 near CR 200S. During the stop, the officer’s observations led him to believe that illegal drugs may have been in the vehicle. The officer requested assistance from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit.
Upon arrival, the K-9 Kayla reportedly alerted on the exterior of the vehicle for the presence of illegal narcotics.
A probable cause search of the vehicle was started and K-9 Kayla was deployed on the interior of the vehicle, where she reportedly alerted on the floor and rear of the center console of the vehicle.
Officers continued to search the vehicle and had it removed to a safe location where it could be searched further. An additional K-9 unit, Tyson, was deployed and alerted to the possible presence of narcotics in the floor in the rear of the van. Officers removed the seats and carpet from the rear of the van, and reportedly uncovered a trap door.
Officers applied for and received a search warrant from the LaGrange County Superior Court around 6 a.m.
During the search, two hidden compartments were located under the carpet where the K-9s had alerted. Officers reportedly found 32 individually vacuum-sealed plastic bags of suspected marijuana, weighing approximately 32 pounds total.
The driver, Plamen Mitev, 24, of Redford Township, Mich., was arrested on preliminary charges of Dealing Marijuana Over 10 Pounds, a Class C felony. The department reported that other charges are pending.