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Mall shoe store alleged to be front for suspected heroin dealer

Suburban shopping malls attempt to attract customers by providing a wide array of stores selling a wide variety of merchandise. In a twist on this marketing strategy, police are now alleging that a shoe store in the Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis has been used as a front to hide the operations of a suspected heroin dealer. The man alleged to be the mastermind of the operation is now facing charges for a number of drug crimes.

According to court records, 19 people were arrested at the end of a month-long investigation by Muncie police and Indiana state police. The arrests alerted police to the possibility that a shoe store in the mall was being used as a front for the sale of heroin. On Sept. 11, after obtaining a search warrant, police entered the shoe store premises and allegedly found about 102 grams of heroin, a scale, video recording equipment, heat sealed bags and a "substantial amount" of cash that was hidden in a display case in the room being used for the drug-selling operation.

The man accused of running the heroin operation was arrested and charged with 14 drug-related crimes. Police also have alleged that the suspect sold $2,500 worth of heroin to a police informant and that the store was also used to launder drug money. The owner of the shoe store has also been charged as a co-defendant in the case. The main suspect allegedly admitted to police that he had been dealing heroin and marijuana since his release from prison two years ago. The circumstances of the alleged confession were not disclosed, and its admissibility has not been determined.

Media accounts of the charging papers filed by the police make the evidence in this case appear to be overwhelming, but the manner in which the evidence was obtained has not been described in detail. Police often make both procedural and substantive mistakes in gathering and preserving evidence in cases such as this, and a capable defense attorney may be able to obtain a favorable plea agreement or outright acquittal by uncovering these mistakes.

Source: IndyStar, "Police: Castleton Square Mall shoe store used by suspected heroin dealer," Holly V. Hays and Douglas Walker, Sept. 18, 2017

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