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UPS marijuana delivery sends man to jail (Full Story)

Melissa Topey • Jun 22, 2010 at 10:35 AM


A marijuana shipment sent via UPS landed a Lorain man a stay in the Erie County jail, with a possible prison sentence on the horizon.

Erie County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday arrested Joe Rowser, 41, at Motel 6 on Rye Beach Road after he picked up a box containing an estimated 35 pounds of suspected marijuana, worth about $35,000.

Detectives were waiting for Rowser when he arrived to pick up the illegal leafy substance, known as "tree."

They charged him with drug trafficking and possession of marijuana. He is scheduled to appear in court today.

Local UPS employees on Thursday alerted deputies to a suspicious package being delivered to Huron from a Texas address. A problem with the shipping label prompted UPS employees to open the 17-by-23-inch box to see if anything inside could indicate its intended destination, Erie County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.

Upon opening the box, however, employees found it was tightly packed with nine dense loaves of plastic-wrapped marijuana.

Each loaf was wrapped in several layers of Saran wrap, with a coating of a Vaseline-type product on each bundle. Fabric softener was also inside the package in an attempt to mask the odor.

The Rye Beach hotel is not generally a UPS drop off location, but Rowser apparently called hotel employees and told them he was a landscaper working in the area and he needed a location to have lawnmower parts delivered.

Hotel employees did not know what the box contained. They cooperated with authorities when detectives contacted them, Sigsworth said.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation will determine the amount, strain and quality of the suspected marijuana, Sigsworth said.

The letter "A" was written in black marker on one of the bricks, wrapped in tinfoil and packing tape. Authorities were unsure of what the letter represented.

Rowser was previously arrested for drug charges in Ohio.

Columbus police arrested him for aggravated drug trafficking in 1991, Sigsworth said. In 1993, he was charged with possession with intent to distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine worth more than $100,000. Columbus police arrested him again in 2002 as a fugitive.

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