Police: $680,000 of heroin found in car

HENRY COUNTY — A Hancock County sheriff’s deputy found about $680,000 worth of heroin in a car during a traffic stop in Henry County.

Early this week, deputy Nick Ernstes, a member of the Proactive Criminal Enforcement team, a multi-jurisdiction law enforcement drug task force that patrols Interstate 70 from Indianapolis to the Ohio border to fight drug trafficking, stopped a vehicle eastbound on I-70 near mile marker 131 for following too closely.

While searching the vehicle, Ernstes and other officers found 15 pounds of heroin and small amounts of cocaine and marijuana on the car’s passengers. The four passengers in the car face criminal charges, including dealing heroin, a Level 2 felony.

The driver, Gary Rosas, 26, of California, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He also faces a charge of dealing heroin, a Level 2 felony. His passengers, Edgar Gonzalez, 26; Julissa Ortega, 26, and Jasmine Ascencio, 23, all of California, face misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and a charge of dealing heroin, a Level 2 felony. Ortega also faces a Level 6 felony charge of possession of cocaine.

They are being held in Henry County Jail.

During the traffic stop, Ernstes smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, a news release said. He found marijuana on the passengers, and one was carrying a small amount of cocaine wrapped in a $20 bill, Ernstes said in an email. When Ernstes ran the license plate on the car through a police database, the plate came up as wanted or stolen, the release stated.

He and two other PACE team officers searched the car and found six large, packages wrapped in plastic and holding 15 pounds of heroin hidden in the console. 

The investigation is ongoing.

The PACE team is comprised of officers from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Richmond Police Department, New Castle Police Department and Greenfield Police Department. Since its inception in 2009, the team has seized more than $10 million in cash and drugs being transported along the interstate.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.