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Pair charged with money laundering

Friday, June 25, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- Two men were formally charged in Putnam County Circuit Court Thursday with Class C felony money laundering.

Eury David Rodriguez of Atlantic City, N.J. and Israel Ramos Ortega of Philadelphia, Pa. were arrested by Putnam County Sheriff's Department Deputy Dwight Simmons early Wednesday during a traffic stop on I-70 westbound in Cloverdale.

According to court records, Simmons stopped a vehicle driven by Rodriguez when Simmons clocked the vehicle doing 80 mph in a 70 mph speed zone.

Simmons asked Rodriguez where he was headed, and he replied that he was traveling to Pomona, Calif. "for two of three days to visit a friend."

"As a result of suspicious indicators present Simmons obtained consent to search the 2005 Chrysler," an investigative report said. "A narcotics detection K9 alerted to the vehicle, and a false compartment containing $95,000 was found."

The currency and vehicle were confiscated for investigation and possible forfeiture, and Rodriguez and Ortega were charged with violation of the Indiana money laundering statute.

By legal definition, Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter explained, money laundering is when money gained through illegal activity is transported and put into circulation. The fact that a drug detection dog alerted to the vehicle gave the state probable cause to believe the large amount of cash located in it was associated with drug trafficking.

According to court records, the K9 also immediately sat when he sniffed the currency removed from the vehicle, "indicating a positive alert to the odor of narcotics on the currency."

Court documents also indicated that officers noted the overwhelming scent of air fresheners inside the vehicle and also saw several air fresheners in the vehicle, which is also a marker of drug activity.

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Rodriguez,Ortega ?? Sure would be curious to know their immigration/citizenship status, but that wouldn't be politically correct these days.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 6:03 AM

Are you kidding me..... Reason to stop on I-70 again.... Putnam County is sooooooo crooked themselves. What do they do ...sit at the truck stop and look for people in cars that look like they could have some reason for the cops to stop them. Other counties don't do this. They get an an awful alot of money this way and WHERE DOES IT GO! Not to the residents of their county that's for sure. Hey Putnam county you got a good scam going!!!!

-- Posted by Innocent on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 8:51 AM

All I know is that I am removing my air fresheners from my car...don't want to be pulled over for 'possible drug activity'.

-- Posted by SP_Mom on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 9:04 AM

Guarentee you will not get "busted" for having air freshners in your vehicle...so what if you get pulled over...as long as you're legal in every way what's the big deal...I appreciate each every law enforcement we have and appreciate them taking the "crooks" of the street even if that means a little inconvenience for being stopped...stay legal and NO WORRIES!!!!!

-- Posted by ZOEYGIRL on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Good job men, more Thug's off our streets that are making it unsafe and destroying family's. Keep up the good work!

-- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Great job. I'm a little confused as to why people get upset when illegal activity is prosecuted. I'm glad the officers are paying attention to suspicious activity and holding culprits accountable. That's their job.

-- Posted by Ready2Go on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 11:41 AM

They are upset Ready2Go b/c they do illegal activity too. This makes them scared that they are next. Hope they are.

-- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 4:20 PM

I say they should have made them spend every penny that day, while still in Cloverdale. Go into the truck stop, buy the whole force some lunch, pick up the tab on everyone's ticket, and leave a massive tip. Why Not?

-- Posted by justanothervoice on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 9:17 PM

Innocent spewed forth "Reason to stop on I-70 again.... What do they do ...sit at the truck stop.... They get an an awful alot of money this way and WHERE DOES IT GO!"

Reason to stop: 80 in a 70. Probably didn't happen at the truck stop as you speculate.

Where does the money go? GPD replaced three of their squad cars with new ones from the forfeiture fund. Other similar purchases for public safety were also made from this fund.

Another example of the fine work our law enforcement does day in and day out. Only the guilty seem to question their work. The rest of us are proud and appreciative of what they do.

-- Posted by VolunteerFF on Sat, Jun 26, 2010, at 6:22 AM

So 2 hispanic men were pulled over on I 70 for exceeding the speed limit and they were "suspicious" because they had car deodarants in their vehicle (which apparently is strong evidence of illegal drug activity according to SOME people). What did they do that was illegal except exceed the speed limit? having money in the car isn't illegal-- it's safer there than in the banks most likely anyway. and so what if a drug-dog registered on the car or the money. no drugs were found! money has been proven to have traces amounts of illegal drugs on it. This is just another case of more personal rights getting stomped on in Greencastle and the rest of the US! Overzealous local law enforcement is trying too hard to make money on I-70 rather than sticking to protecting the citizens of Putnam county where their real job is. Those men weren't bothering anyone here, or anywhere for that matter that we know of. What happened to "not guilty until proven innocent"? What was really so suspicious about these guys that their car was searched anyway? That they were hispanic?? -- strike one. That they have money and hispanic men with money MUST be getting it illegally, right?-- strike two! and last but not least, they had air fresheners in their car-- strike three, your under arrest in the Putnam Co. Jail. Be careful, because people die there for unexplained reasons. With law enforcement like we have around here, how can anyone feel safe? If you like living in a police state move to China.

-- Posted by retinula on Sat, Jun 26, 2010, at 8:03 PM

I am proud of our police!

-- Posted by et on Sun, Jun 27, 2010, at 11:48 PM

here is an assignment for one of the banner-graphic reporters-- find out what the true "success ratio" for pulling people over on I-70, who are not breaking the law but instead are just acting "suspicious". Tax payers should know how many people the police wrongfully stop and harrass by calling in K9 units, searching their trunk and glove box, etc. and actually find nothing illegal. Whats that number compared to the number of big drug busts like the one's where the police officers smile and get their pictures in the paper next to bails of marijuana. Whats an acceptable "success ratio"? Is pulling over and searching even one innocent driver acceptable just because sooner or later you'll eventually catch someone?

-- Posted by retinula on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 7:50 PM

Even if they keep just one car load of drugs out of our county a year, I'd say that's a big enough "success ratio" for me. Tax dollars this, tax dollars that, shut up. You'd complain if they weren't doing anything, and now you're complaining that they are?! Really, there is no pleasing anyone in this county.

-- Posted by WTFRUthinkin on Sat, Jul 3, 2010, at 3:57 AM

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