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3 from area arrested in federal meth sting

A federal drug investigation into methamphetamine distribution in northeast Indiana resulted in three arrests this week, after a final undercover drug buy of two pounds of meth inside a cake.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne, Javier Madrigal, 48, and his girlfriend, Lizbeth Correa, 34, both of Wawaka, are accused of distributing more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Also charged in the distribution scheme is Juan Sandoval, 45, of Fort Wayne, who is accused of distributing meth obtained from Madrigal in Allen and Whitley counties.

The investigation began when an Indiana State Police detective assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force began working with a confidential informant who told them that Madrigal supplied methamphetamine to Noble County.

Madrigal and Correa both worked at Madrigal’s restaurant, Chilangos Tacos, in Ligonier. According to court documents, the informant picked up drugs from Madrigal at the restaurant as part of the investigation.

Working their way up from an ounce of the methamphetamine in early February, investigators recorded a drug buy from Madrigal involving two pounds of the drug at $19,000 a pound.

On Tuesday, the informant bought the drugs, which were delivered to him in an item made to look like a cake. According to court documents, Madrigal and Correa put the two zippered plastic bags of drugs in a cake form, iced it and decorated it, and then put a lid over it and sent the buyer on his way.

Federal agents, with help from the Northeast Indiana SWAT team, served search warrants on Chilangos Tacos on Thursday, according to the criminal complaint.

The investigation into Sandoval also began this year, and he too dealt ever-increasing amounts of methamphetamine to a confidential informant assisting the DEA.

On Monday, Sandoval bought a half-pound of methamphetamine from Madrigal, according to court documents.

A search of Sandoval’s Calumet Avenue home revealed a sawed-off 20-gauge shotgun, another 20-gauge shotgun, a .40-caliber handgun and ammunition. He was arrested at a construction site in Columbia City.

Also arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint was Glenda Brickey, 27, of Ligonier. She was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. She was arrested after a traffic stop and found to have a small amount of the drug, along with a glass pipe.

On the way to the Noble County Jail, Brickey told the officer she had more drugs. A female jail officer searched her at the jail and found three ounces of the “ice” form of methamphetamine inside her bra, according to court documents.