A routine traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road Friday afternoon led an inquisitive trooper to approximately 100 pounds of marijuana. Indiana State Trooper Ted Bohner stopped a gray Chevrolet Tahoe for following too closely near the Elkhart East exit around 2:30 p.m. on February 4.
The driver of the vehicle reportedly had flown from California to Chicago, rented the Tahoe, and was going to drive to New York to look for work. Trooper Bohner became suspicious of the man’s story and contacted the Elkhart Police Department for assistance in conducting an exterior search of the Tahoe with a police K-9. Elkhart K-9 officer Corporal Chris Snyder walked his dog Xantos around the Tahoe and the dog made a positive alert indicating that the vehicle may contain illegal drugs.
Trooper Bohner searched the Tahoe and found several large suitcases in the rear that were secured with small locks. After a search warrant was obtained officers discovered that the four suitcases contained 98 bundles of marijuana, each weighing approximately one pound. The marijuana has a street value of approximately $5,000 per pound.
The driver of the Tahoe, Harry J. Oranges, 25, of Napa, California, was arrested on charges of dealing marijuana, a class C-felony and possession of marijuana, a class D-felony. He is currently being held in the Elkhart County Jail.