Pot found in teddy bear: 2 arrested
Police have arrested a Rohnert Park man and his girlfriend after the owner of a 24-hour shipping store opened a package the man was sending and found a teddy bear stuffed with nearly a pound of marijuana.
Gilberto Perez Pereira, 43, and Susan Janette Roark, 48, were arrested Friday on drug and related charges.
The owner of the store told police he had grown suspicious of Pereira because he had been sending overnight packages every two weeks to different addresses in Wisconsin for the past several months.
The owner would have casual conversations with Pereira, who was paying top-dollar to ship items overnight using DHL, said Rohnert Park police Sgt. Art Sweeney.
"He thought something didn't fit," Sweeney said.
The owner contacted police Thursday after he opened one of the packages and found a teddy bear with crude stitching covering a cut in the fabric and a heavy object inside.
Sweeney said that as the proprietor of the store, the man had a right to inspect customers' goods in order to ensure they weren't dangerous or illegal before shipping them.
Officers from the Special Enforcement Unit opened the stuffed animal and found a ball consisting of 30 feet of cellophane layered with yellow mustard and powdered carpet deodorizer surrounding a heat-sealed package of marijuana, according to police.
Police said such packaging commonly is used by drug dealers to put drug detection dogs off the scent. Meanwhile, Pereira had been tracking the package on the Internet and on Friday called the store to ask why the shipment was still in Rohnert Park. The owner --as instructed by police -- told Pereira that he needed to return to the store and pay a few more dollars in shipping costs.
A few minutes later, Pereira and his girlfriend arrived and gave the owner more money. Officers stopped the car as Roark drove away and allegedly found her and Pereira to be in possession of 1/2 gram of methamphetamine each, police said.
Roark is on probation in Sonoma County for a drug possession conviction. Officers searched the couple's apartment at 6500 Country Club Drive and allegedly found evidence linking Pereira to the shipment at issue as well as previous shipments. Police also found shotgun shells and a small quantity of methamphetamine, police said.
Pereira, who has served several prison terms for drug convictions, told police that he had been shipping the packages for a friend. He said he didn't know what was in them, or how to reach the friend.
Pereira was booked into Sonoma County jail on $25,000 bail for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, shipment of drugs over state lines, transportation of marijuana and being a felon in possession of firearms ammunition.
Roark was being held without bail and was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of probation and driving with a suspended license.