Lake County cop bonds out on Porter County drug charges

2012-06-14T14:10:00Z 2012-06-15T13:12:00Z Lake County cop bonds out on Porter County drug chargesBy Bob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345

VALPARAISO | Formal charges were filed against a Lake County Sheriff's Department deputy arrested Wednesday on numerous drug charges.

Gary Pilipovich, 29, of 3370 Reserve Drive, Apt. 115, in Portage, was charged Thursday with felony counts of possessing cocaine, possessing a syringe and possessing a controlled substance, and misdemeanor counts of possessing marijuana and paraphernalia.

He bonded out of the Porter County Jail less than an hour and a half after being booked Wednesday morning.

The charges stem from a search of Pilipovich's Willowcreek Estates apartment Tuesday triggered when an officer claimed he saw bag of marijuana in plain view earlier in the day while assisting with an eviction.

Police said they found cocaine in the closet of the master bedroom and marijuana in several locations around the apartment, including in a Lake County sheriff's bag. Police said they also found a multi-colored smoking pipe in the apartment and a collection of painkillers, amphetamines and anti-anxiety pills in Pilipovich's red 2000 Pontiac Trans Am car.

The county drug task force was granted a separate search warrant Friday after the apartment manager said she saw and took photographs of vials, a burner, chemistry equipment, cooking implements, hypodermic needles and a nitrous oxide tank in Pilipovich's apartment, according to the warrant. The manager, who said she was responding to Pilipovich's complaints about mold, told police she also saw numerous books relating to the use and manufacturing of steroids.

A member of the drug task force said the photographs also revealed a jar of L-lysine, an amino acid often used in conjunction with anabolic steroid use.

No charges have been filed in connection with last week's warrant, though Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said the investigation is ongoing.

Pilipovich, an eight-year veteran of the Lake County Sheriff's Department, has been suspended from his job, and his weapon and department identification were taken Wednesday, according to Lake County Sheriff John Buncich.

Buncich said Pilipovich had been on sick leave from the department for about four months while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Pilipovich was released on either a $8,500 surety or $1,000 cash bond and faces between six months to three years behind bars on each of the felony counts.

Portage police Sgt. Keith Hughes said police seized several weapons from the officer's residence Tuesday. Lake County officials retrieved some of the weapons from Portage police Wednesday.


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