PORTAGE | Authorities said a man faces criminal charges after an officer running interdiction on the Indiana Toll Road found him with drugs and a handgun.

Robert Loft Jr., 46, of South Bend, faces a felony weapons charge for carrying a handgun while a convicted felon, a felony drug possession charge and a misdemeanor for allegedly driving while suspended.

According to Porter County Sheriff's Department, an officer on High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area patrol duty on Interstate 90 about 10:45 a.m. Monday, spotted a car reportedly traveling 72 mph in a posted 55 mph zone.

Loft reportedly told officers he was on his way home from a funeral. Police checked his license and discovered it was suspended. After he was taken into custody, officers searched his car and reportedly found a pill bottle with 100 prescription muscle relaxers in the car and a handgun in the trunk, hidden behind the trunk wall.

Detectives said during further questioning Loft said the pills belonged to his roommate, but the gun was his. Loft told officers a friend of his owns a gun shop in Illinois and he was transporting the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun to get a new magazine clip.

Authorities said Loft's arrest came on the first day county officers were running HIDTA patrols.

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