Drugs from California

SOUTHERN INDIANA — United State Attorney John Minkler has filed a motion requesting that cash and guns associated with a December drug bust in Charlestown be forfeited.

On Dec. 3, a postal inspector in western Kentucky noted a suspicious package headed to an address in Charlestown, coming from Rancho Cucamonga, according to court records filed Friday in the U.S. District Court, Southern Indiana District.

The inspector secured a search warrant and after a drug-sniffing dog alerted that the box was positive for controlled substances, the box was opened to reveal "numerous bottles of THC oil and THC edible items."

It was resealed and delivered under surveillance to a house on Hartford Lane in Charlestown, where it was allegedly retrieved and taken inside by a man later identified as Kyle Welch.

When police entered the home on the warrant, the contents of the box were already spread out on the counter. They included 50 bottles of THC edibles, hundreds of THC oil vape refills, 99.5 grams of marijuana, 3.7 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, several tablets of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine and digital scales.

A further search of the house turned up $97,447 in cash, separated into bundles and placed in a safe in a walk-in closet and five guns — two handguns, two shotguns and a rifle. Two of the guns — a Sig Sauer .380-caliber handgun and a Benelli 912 gauge shotgun — had been purchased by Welch's father, records show.

Welch was charged in December with a level 5 felony for dealing in marijuana over 10 pounds; two level 6 felonies for possession of a controlled substance with enhancement; a level 6 felony for possession of marijuana and a class B misdemeanor for possession of marijuana.

The guns and cash were already in possession of the FBI and earlier this year, the Bureau started administrative forfeiture action, which required that they notify any potential claimants. In February and March, both Welch and his father filed claims for the items.

Friday's complaint calls for civil forfeiture process, which means the guns and cash would be taken permanently, due to their connection with alleged drug crimes. The document lists the currency and guns as being "proceeds of or property used to facilitate" violations to the Controlled Substances Act.

Under U.S. law, any potential claimants to the cash and guns will be notified and have the opportunity to show cause why the items should not be forfeited.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.