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Two local residents facing federal drug charges in Utah

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GINA R. HEINE
February 25, 2009
— Two Rock County residents caught on a Utah highway with more than 45 pounds of cocaine in their SUV are free after posting bond on federal drug charges, according to court documents and officials.

Sergio Gelacio, 40, of 3611 Birdsong Lane, Janesville, and Judith Santana, 42, of 14131 Berg Road, Orfordville, each were indicted on one charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Gelacio is married to Santana's sister.


According to online federal court documents and police reports:


Santana and Gelacio were driving east on Interstate 70 outside of Richfield, Utah, on Jan. 8, when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped their Mitsubishi Montero for a window-tint violation.


The suspects made conflicting statements about where they stayed, and both individuals gave consent to search the vehicle, which had Wisconsin plates, the trooper wrote. A police dog indicated the presence of drugs at the rear of the vehicle.


The trooper found the carpet glued down in the back and what appeared to be a hidden compartment. The driver, Santana, and passenger, Gelacio, were arrested, and the vehicle was taken to a garage.


The trooper said he knew from training and experience that I-70 is a major corridor of drugs from California to areas in the Midwest.


Inside a compartment in the rear of the vehicle, troopers found at least 21 kilogram-sized packages of cocaine. About $1,500 cash also was seized.


The suspects told law enforcement they had started their trip in Illinois in a Ford minivan and traveled to Los Angeles, where they exchanged the van for the Montero. They said they were on their return trip with the intention of delivering the Montero to some men in Illinois. They said they only knew the men by first name.


The Montero was registered to Gelacio's wife under the direction of the Illinois men for the "purpose of using the Montero to transport drugs," according to court documents.


The case is being handled by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.


Both suspects are scheduled to appear in federal court Monday, March 16, in St. George, Utah, for an initial appearance and arraignment on the indictment. They are free after posting a $25,000 cash or property bond.



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