AP NEWS

Guns, drugs, child found during police raid

March 30, 2019

Before the drug raid, tips that came to police were specific.

The couple dealing drugs lived in the first apartment building on the left and smoked marijuana in front of their baby. They drove a tan Cadillac Escalade and a blue Buick LaCrosse.

The woman of the couple was related to a man wanted on felony drug-dealing charges and was hiding out in Mexico to avoid arrest. The man in Mexico had drug cartel connections with Los Zetas and MS-13, both Latino gangs. He was buying bales of marijuana, bricks of cocaine and pounds of methamphetamine and then shipping the drugs to Fort Wayne, where the couple would distribute them, court records said.

Fort Wayne police officers swooped in Wednesday to find the apartment full of drugs, guns, money and a small child who was placed under the care of relatives, police said.

Maria Lopez Saldana, 23, of the 500 block of Larch Lane, and Dylan G. Pattison, 27, of the 6500 block of Covington Road, were charged with four counts of dealing drugs including cocaine, narcotics, marijuana and hashish oil and another felony charge for neglect of a dependent.

The source had seen more than $135,000 in the Covington Road apartment and military grade weapons including an AK-47 rifle, a live grenade stolen from an out-of-state SWAT team and eight other firearms.

The couple moved mostly crystal meth, cocaine and THC oil, but the source had seen 5-gallon buckets containing medical-grade marijuana in the apartment. There was also LSD and MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, from Amsterdam that came in the mail, court documents said.

Saldana, who worked at an insurance company, was overheard bragging that she was never going to get caught “because the Fort Wayne Police Department is too stupid,” according to court documents.

In the apartment, police found a dollar bill with white powder on it and a rolled up five-dollar bill used to ingest cocaine. Both were found 5 inches away from the child’s drinking bottles, court documents said.

“The entire kitchen counter also tested positive for cocaine,” court documents said.

On top of the refrigerator and in plain view was a 9 mm Bersa semi-automatic handgun loaded with 10 rounds and a Marlin .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle, also loaded.

Police found plastic sandwich bags used for selling drugs, digital scales, $7,000 bundled in thousand-dollar increments and personal identification including Saldana’s Mexican passport and work visa, court documents said.

Pattison told a detective that he lived in the apartment with Saldana for the last two years and the child is theirs. He admitted to dealing about one ounce of marijuana a week and had several customers, he said.

When asked who owned the money, he said the money belonged to Saldana and himself “unless it was illegal to own that amount of money,” he said.

Detective Michael Long then told Pattison that the money was allowed to be owned “as long as it is not ill-gotten.”

Pattison did not want to admit to owning the Cadillac or the LaCrosse, but search warrants on the cars revealed they were owned by the couple, aswas a third car, a 2004 black Pontiac Vibe.

More drugs were found in the Cadillac and the Vibe, court records said.

Saldana and Pattison were being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $107,500 bail. 

jduffy@jg.net