Berks owner intercepts 25-pound package of marijuana

A Bernville homeowner’s security camera alerted him to the delivery of a package that turned out to contain 25 pounds of marijuana he did not order.

The owner was not on the scene Saturday when the package arrived shortly before noon at the home in the 100 block of West Second Street, which he had rented to someone else for a few days through Airbnb, the city said. state police in a criminal complaint.

He asked his brother to know what had been delivered. The brother brought the package home and discovered that it contained numerous one pound vacuum sealed bags of marijuana. It was later determined to be a total of 25 pounds.

The owner called 9-1-1 to report the find. State Police stopped a getaway car on Highway 183 about 3 miles south of Bernville near Suburban Road in Bern Township, for illegally tinting the windows. They arrested two Philadelphia men for drug trafficking after a search of the car revealed an additional 15 pounds of marijuana in a large trunk in the back seat, investigators said.

Samir A. Santiago, 21, and Luis Nunez Peguero, 23, were arrested for possession and intent to deliver marijuana. They were held in Berks County Jail in lieu of bond of $25,000 each to await a post-arraignment hearing Saturday night before District Judge David L. Yoch in Reading Central Court.

Soldiers from Reading Station provided this additional account of events:

After calling 9-1-1, the owner further told dispatchers that a man was looking for the package outside and may be trying to get inside.

Shortly after, the man called the owner through Airbnb and was told he knew what was in the package. The man fled in a car and the brother began to follow her, providing a dispatcher with the description of the car, including the license plate.

The car overtook four vehicles as it pulled into the opposite lane.

A policeman finally stopped the car on Route 183. When he spoke to the driver, Santiago, there was a strong smell of marijuana. Santiago denied there was a large amount of marijuana in the vehicle, saying he and his passenger, Nunez Peguero, had just smoked marijuana in the car about a day earlier.

The soldier noticed that Santiago seemed cold as he stood outside the car in freezing temperatures. He asked if he could get Santiago’s coat from the car. When the soldier went to get the coat, he noticed a trunk in the back seat that reeked of cannabis.

Santiago and Nunez Peguero were arrested. The policeman asked Santiago for permission to search the car without a warrant, and Santiago consented.

Santiago refused to say anything after being taken to the station for an interview.

Nunez Peguero was interviewed separately. He told investigators that someone he knew asked him to pick up two packages. He said he rented the home in Bernville through Airbnb on Thursday so he and Santiago could wait for one of the packages to be delivered.

He said the person, whom he declined to identify, coerced him into having the package addressed to him and was told he would get a call when it was delivered.

Nunez Peguero said he didn’t know what was in the box until they were arrested. He said the box that was in the back seat was picked up earlier that morning from an address in the 400 block of Snyder Road in Penn Township. In this box, soldiers found 15 pounds of cannabis in one-pound bags, bringing the total seized to 40 pounds.

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