GREENFIELD — Two men from California traveling through the county were stopped by an alert Indiana State Police (ISP) trooper earlier this week for an inspection that led to law enforcement officials finding 184 pounds of cocaine inside a semi with a refrigerated trailer.

Both men were arrested and are now facing serious felony drug crimes in Hancock County.

Jose N. Perez, 66, California

Jose N. Perez, 66, Los Angeles, has been charged with a Level 2 felony count of dealing cocaine and a Level 3 felony count of possession of cocaine while Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 60, Moreno Valley, faces the same charges.

The case against both men was officially opened in Hancock County Superior Court 1 Thursday of this week. Both men were set to have their initial hearings Friday morning.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 60, California

Officials from the ISP were the ones investigating the incident. According to a press release one of their troopers was patrolling I-70 near Mount Comfort Road Sunday afternoon Feb. 18 when an eastbound semi caught his attention.

The trooper is certified to perform Federal Motor Carrier Inspections on commercial vehicles, officials said, so the trooper pulled over the semi to perform an inspection. Part of the inspections includes a review of the required paperwork and log book, which revealed a log book violation, ISP officials noted.

While interacting with the driver and co-driver, the trooper noticed criminal indicators based upon his training and experience that led him to ask for consent to search the semi, which the driver agreed to allow the trooper to do.

That’s when the trooper located dozens of packages suspected to be cocaine, officials said in the release. A field test later confirmed his suspicion as the substance tested positive for cocaine. The drugs were located inside boxes of onions among other produce in the trailer, officials said. The driver of the semi and the passenger were both arrested and transported to the Hancock County Jail on probable cause of possession of cocaine.

They were officially charged late Thursday by officials with the Hancock County Prosecutor’s office who reviewed the case and subsequently filed formal charges against both individuals in Hancock Superior Court 1.

Officials with the ISP say they were assisted in the drug bust by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department on this investigation and they worked closely with Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton to set the charges.

During the investigation, officials noted the truck was towed to Johnson’s Towing in Greenfield to be offloaded so officials could complete the search.

Eaton said it’s good when all agencies can work together for the good of a community and stop major drug crimes like this.

“I am grateful for the effort and cooperation of all involved that has provided us with the evidence to bring these charges,” Eaton said. “This is a great example of the type of alert police work and inter-agency cooperation that keeps our community among the nation’s safest.”

Indiana State Police found 184 pounds of cocaine inside the semi.