Damaged UPS package brings drug arrests
URBANA — Urbana police arrested two men Thursday after the seizure of a major drug cache from a central Urbana home.
Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said Landen E. Nelson, 30, of the 200 block of West Vermont Avenue, Urbana, and Antonio V. Gauna, 32, of Mattoon, were arrested Thursday afternoon at Nelson's home after police found cannabis, cocaine, hashish and various edibles containing THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
Seraphin said the investigation began Thursday morning when security officials at the United Parcel Service facility on North Lincoln Avenue found a damaged package that was spilling dog food.
"It's broken open and the dog food starts to fall out," said Seraphin. "As they open it, they find packages of cannabis first and ultimately they find controlled substances."
Based on that find, Urbana police got a search warrant for the address on the package, which was Nelson's home.
When they served it, Seraphin said they found $3,610 cash, two guns, 17 pills of Ecstasy, 4 grams of psilocybin (mushrooms), about an ounce of powdered Ecstasy, almost 2 pounds of cannabis, about an ounce of hashish, and other pills believed to be controlled substances.
That was in addition to what was found in the damaged package: 1 1/2 pounds of cannabis, an ounce of cocaine powder, 6 ounces of hashish, and about 2 pounds of edibles containing THC including brownies, cookies and lollipops, he said.
Seraphin said both men told police that they flew to Los Angeles last week to buy the drugs and shipped it to themselves.
Seraphin said the dog food packaging was a new one on him.
"We are speculating it was some sort of (odor) masking technique and since dogs are trained to detect narcotics, they would smell dog food and keep on going. That's our theory, but each man denied packing it in dog food. We see a variety of things like smearing grease on drugs but I don't think I've ever seen dog food used as a methodology," Seraphin said.
Nelson and Gauna were each charged Friday with possession with intent to deliver cocaine; possession with intent to deliver Ecstasy; and possession with intent to deliver cannabis.