PORTAGE | Police arrested two local men late Wednesday night and charged them with dealing and possession of cocaine.
Police received information Wednesday concerning a potential drug deal in the area of U.S. 6, said Sgt. Keith Hughes. The information led to a surveillance of the area.
Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, officers involved in the surveillance saw a suspect drive into a parking lot of a local restaurant, exit the car, enter the restaurant and then return to his car about two minutes later.
Police followed the vehicle and stopped it for a traffic violation on Airport Road near American Way.
The car was driven by Pedro Galarza III, 35, of 5611 Aspen, Portage. Police questioned Galarza and allegedly received his consent to search him and his car. In Galarza's pockets, police found 14 small knotted baggies containing cocaine with a total weight of 13.7 grams.
Galarza told police he was not selling the cocaine, but that it was for his personal use.
Galarza was arrested and charged with felony drug dealing and transported to the Porter County Jail.
Just after midnight Thursday police saw a second car that they believed belonged to the restaurant employee to whom Galarza allegedly sold the cocaine leave the restaurant.
Police stopped that car, driven by Roy L. Manna III, 35, 1929 Adams St., Portage, near the intersection of U.S. 6 and Swanson Road for a traffic violation.
Police said Manna consented to the search of his vehicle. During the search by a Porter County Sheriff's Department dog, police asked Manna to move further from the car.
During a search of the vehicle, police found a scale with powdery residue on it in the trunk. Manna denied the item was his. Police also searched the area where Manna originally was standing and found a small bag of what later tested positive for cocaine.
Manna was charged with possession of cocaine and transported to Porter County Jail.