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  For Immediate Release: August 12, 2016
Contact: Lt. Lawrence Firmi (419) 562-8040

Troopers discover hidden compartment


WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – Two men are facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers located a hidden compartment in a vehicle during a traffic stop in Sandusky County.

Troopers stopped a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV with Illinois registration for speed and following too closely violations on Interstate 80, near milepost 82, at 10:48 a.m. on August 6. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. During a probable cause search, after-market modifications were found in the dashboard, containing six pounds of heroin, worth $198,186. 

The driver, Rogelio Maury-Ugarte, 36, of Hammond, Ind., and passenger, Gustavo Benitez-Beltran, 24, of Chicago, Ill., were incarcerated in the Sandusky County Jail. They were charged with possession and trafficking of heroin, both first-degree felonies, and hidden compartment in motor vehicles, a fourth-degree felony.

If convicted, each could face up to 21 ½ years in prison and up to a $45,000 fine.

In 2012, Senate Bill 305 prohibited designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.

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