Package comes with handcuffs as police charge marijuana possession

rgallagher@newsobserver.comAugust 16, 2013 

— Cary and Raleigh police arrested a man at his home Thursday afternoon after he took in a FedEx package that they knew held 1.75 pounds of marijuana.

Police were waiting outside the Woodway apartment of Charles Pierre Vion Jr. at 2523 Carywood Drive, according to a search warrant returned to the Wake County Clerk of Courts on Friday.

When the package arrived and Vion accepted it, police entered and charged him with possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute it and with maintaining the apartment as a place to sell and distribute drugs.

Vion, 38, was released on bail.

The package was spotted by Raleigh police conducting a drug-interdiction operation at a FedEx terminal, the warrant said.

The package, sent to Vion from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., raised interest because it had “the common characteristics of a drug parcel,” Raleigh Detective L.A. Hartman told a magistrate in asking for the search warrant before the delivery was made.

Police had checked the package at the terminal and found the marijuana, Hartman said.

Police keep a regular check on packages shipped via FedEx, United Parcel Service and other carriers.

Search warrants in other cases have shown that when they suspect a package and find drugs, they may let it be delivered in order to find the recipient.

Detectives decline to discuss the ways they spot suspicious packages, but they have said that experience has taught them to notice certain things, such as the packaging.

Screening shipments for contraband is not limited to drug cases. Agents examining packages through Raleigh-Durham International Airport say they found counterfeit items imported from China, including rifle parts and accessories going to a Cary home and cellphones and parts going to a Raleigh man’s home, according to search warrants. Both cases resulted in arrests.

In the import cases, investigators from the state Secretary of State’s Office, which handles copyright infringement cases, worked with federal Homeland Security officials, who have authority for warrantless searches of foreign shipments, according to the warrants.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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