News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 5, 2012

Mailed marijuana leads to a pair of arrests


Tribune-Star staff report

TERRE HAUTE — A parcel of pot mailed from California has led to the arrest of two Terre Haute men.

Justin Michael Burt, 20, and Alex D. Branch, 21, both appeared via video in Vigo Superior Court 1 on Wednesday on charges related to the marijuana.

Detective Jason Fischer of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department testified that local police were contacted by the California Department of Justice about a parcel en route overnight to Terre Haute. The parcel had been identified as possibly containing drugs.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, police went to FedEx on Margaret Avenue and located the suspect parcel, addressed to a John Smith in the 1200 block of Elmwood Drive. Police obtained a search warrant and opened the parcel, finding packaged marijuana weighing 2,794 grams, or about 6.2 pounds.

Fischer said the parcel was repackaged and returned to the FedEx facility, where personnel reported that a man had been calling about the parcel. At about 1:30 p.m., a man who identified himself as John Smith picked up the package. Police  stopped his vehicle on Margaret Avenue, and learned that Smith was really Justin M. Burt.

Police say Burt told them he knew the parcel contained marijuana, and that he was to deliver the package to a motel to a man named Alex. Burt agreed to deliver the package, Fischer said, and police were able to arrest Alex Branch at the motel when he accepted the parcel from Burt. Police also found and seized $7,320 in Branch’s front pocket.

Burt was arrested for possession of marijuana, a class-D felony due to the amount.

Branch was arrested for dealing marijuana, a class-D felony due to the amount.

Judge John Roach set bond for both men at $25,000 with no 10 percent allowed. They are both to return to court Tuesday for filing of formal charges.