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January 25. 2013 9:27PM

Salem man arrested after Postal Service spots marijuana shipment

Christopher Walker, 22, of Salem was arrested for possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute on Wednesday. Police say he received five pounds of marijuana in the mail. (COURTESY)

SALEM - A suspicious package flagged by the U.S. Postal Service led to the arrest of a 22-year-old man who allegedly had five pounds of marijuana mailed to him from California, police said.

Christopher Walker of Salem also had another pound of marijuana, a ledger and a small amount of cash, police said, which were discovered during a search of his home. He was charged Wednesday with possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute.

Police said that investigators with the U.S. Postal Service noticed the package listed a return address that did not exist. That prompted postal inspectors to bring the package to the police department, according to Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten.

The department's dog, Trigger, handled by Officer Dan Nelson, detected a presence of drugs on the package, police said.

Detectives used that and other evidence to obtain a search warrant for Walker's home at 29 Lowell Road.

At 2:42 p.m., inspectors with the U.S. Postal Service and Salem detectives monitored the delivery of the package to the home and then executed the search warrant.

A woman who signed for the package told investigators she was Walker's grandmother, police said. Police allegedly found five pounds of marijuana in the package and another pound of pot in the house, as well as drug paraphernalia.

Investigators found Walker on the street and took him into custody without incident. He was arraigned and released on $2,500 cash bail.

Prosecutors had argued for higher bail and a source-of-funds hearing during Walker's arraignment in 10th Circuit Court, according to police.

A probable cause hearing will be set in the case within the next week before it is bound over to Superior Court for indictment.

Authorities said the charge could result in a sentence of 3½ to 7 years in state prison.

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