NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - Fort Wayne police officers as well as officers from the Noble and Steuben County sheriff departments helped the Drug Enforcement Administration investigate and bust a huge pot shipment in Fort Wayne on Monday.
More than one ton of marijuana, 2,160 pounds to be exact, is now off the streets. Martin Gonzalez-Medina, 50, of Indianapolis is behind bars.
“It’s a tremendous win for law enforcement from federal level down to local level,” Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp said.
Harp said one of his deputies just joined the DEA task force in Fort Wayne a few weeks ago.
“Several months ago we changed the focus of how we handle narcotics investigations. We changed our focus more towards longer, bigger narcotics investigations. We get more bang for our buck,” Harp said.
Harp said changes in state law that go into effect in July will make sentences for some drug charges shorter. The thought it the shorter sentences will help with jail overcrowding. While the department will still investigate and make arrests in smaller drug deals, bigger cases will be getting more attention.
“It just makes sense that if you can cut the head off the dragon you’re going to have much more impact,” he said.
A Steuben County Sheriff’s Department officer was the lead investigator with the DEA to bring down Gonzalez Medina, Sheriff Tim Troyer said.
Court documents said Gonzalez Medina arranged the shipment of a ton of marijuana from Mexico to a warehouse on Industrial Road off Washington Center Road in Fort Wayne. The pot was wrapped in 97 bundles and hidden inside 12 deep freezers. If the shipment wasn’t seized, Harp said it wouldn’t have taken long for the drugs to make their way to surrounding counties.
“Typically they’re trying to move that as quick as possible and get it out to regional folks and regional dealers,” he said.
Harp said having federal agents working with local officers can make a big difference in the fight against drugs.
“It’s sharing of information. If you have a federal agent calling a local officer and they don’t know each other, sometimes you don’t get that good sharing of information. So, having someone working there side by side every day is very important,” he said.
The Noble County deputy, while helping with busts in the entire region, is also focusing on drug crimes in Noble County.