Heroin seized Sunday night at LaGrange County home

Heroin measuring 5.35 ounces fills a plastic bag. The drug, the largest single amount ever recovered in LaGrange County, was seized during a raid of home just outside of LaGrange County Sunday. Ten people were arrested.

LAGRANGE — A raid Sunday on a LaGrange County home marked the first time local law enforcement officers have uncovered a sizable amount of heroin in the county.

The bust is sparking fears that the heroin epidemic that has been ravaging other communities around the nation might have finally found its way here.

Ten people were arrested after an early Sunday morning raid at a home west of LaGrange uncovered more than 5 ounces of heroin, the largest single seizure of heroin here, said Nic Dubea, a LaGrange police department deputy marshal.

Over the past several years, heroin has been a large problem across the nation, as well as in Indiana communities like Indianapolis, South Bend and Fort Wayne. But the drug has rarely been seen in LaGrange County or other northeast Indiana counties, where meth remains king of illicit drugs.

That started to change about two months ago, Dubea said.

Police armed with a search warrant raided a home in the 2800 block of West C.R. 50N just west of LaGrange shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. According to a report released by the LaGrange police department, allegedly officers found 5.35 ounces of heroin, 4 grams of methamphetamine, hypodermic needles, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a .40 caliber Taurus handgun and a Mossberg .20 gauge shotgun in the home.

A typical dose of heroin is a 1/10th gram, meaning 5.35 ounces would represent approximately 1,500 doses. For meth, a typical hit is about 1/4 gram, so 4 ounces would be about 450 doses.

Dubea admitted law enforcement authorities were surprised to discover that much heroin. He said that information gathered by officers during traffic stops enabled local police to launch more than month-long investigation which led to Sunday’s raid.

Those arrested include Jason K. Lowry, Angela S. Winans, Victor Ponce, Jerod Norris, Gregory Sickels, Melissa C. Norris, Jessica Mathews, Bradley Carpenter, Jakob Speelman and Salvador Rodriguez Jr.

Lowery, 32, of the 2800 block of West C.R. 50N, LaGrange, was charged with dealing in a narcotic drug, a Level 2 felony; possession of narcotic drugs, a Level 3 felony; and unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance, all Level 6 felonies.

Angela Winans, 36, of 5500 block North C.R. 800E, was charged with dealing in a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug, unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia, and maintaining a common nuisance.

Victor Ponce-Ruvalcaba, 26, of the 800 block of Taylor Street, Elkhart, was charged with dealing in a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug, and visiting a common nuisance.

Jerod Norris, 21, of the 2880 block of West C.R. 50N, LaGrange, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia, and visiting a common nuisance.

Sickels, 42, of the 300 block of North Canal Street, LaGrange, was charged with unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisance.

Melissa Norris, 49, of the 500 block of Maple Ridge, LaGrange, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisance.

Mathews, 21, of the 26000 block of Littman Road, Sturgis, Michigan, was charged with possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisance.

Bradley Carpenter, 46, who is listed as homeless, was charged with unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia, and visiting a common nuisance.

Speelman, 21, of the 300 block of Ashton Drive, Kendallville, was charged with possession of marijuana and visiting a common nuisance.

Rodriguez, 39, of the 520000 block of Brookstream Circle, Elkhart, was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisance.

Officers with the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wolcottville and Shipshewana police departments also took part in the operation.

All 10 suspects were transported to the LaGrange County Jail and are awaiting their initial court appearance. Dubea said the investigation remains ongoing.

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