Suspect Still At-Large

Staff Writer

A suspect is still at-large after a traffic stop on Monday.
At approximately 3:30 a.m. Monday, Celina Police Ptl. A.J. Poppe was on patrol in the 200-block of South Sugar Street when he observed a maroon, 2003 Ford Mustang convertible run a stop sign on Warren Street at South Sugar Street, travelling west. He conducted a traffic stop on the car, which was driven by Brendan Verhoff, 18, of Celina.
Upon stopping the car a male passenger — later identified as Aaron Lee Rodriguez, 29 — fled the car and failed to stop at Poppe's orders. A female passenger, Alicia Funkhouser, 29, of Celina, also fled. Both suspects ran westbound into a residential area near the traffic stop. Poppe captured Funkhouser, who resisted arrest and was found to be in possession of small amounts suspected marijuana and methamphetamine. Rodriguez was not apprehended; however, while fleeing he did drop his jacket containing his state issued I.D., as well as 11 capsules of suspected heroin.
Deputies from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Celina Police Department with the subsequent search for Rodriguez. It was found Rodriguez was renting a room in a house next to the traffic stop at 221 S. Sugar St. A search warrant was applied for and granted by acting Judge Kathy Speelman to search the room for Rodriguez, as well as for suspected drugs of abuse and drug paraphernalia.
Upon execution of the search warrant, officers did not locate Rodriguez; however, they did locate and recover numerous drug paraphernalia items with suspected drug residue. This included nearly 100 clear capsules with suspected drug residue, several used syringes and a spoon with suspected burnt drug residue.
Verhoff, the driver, is expected to be issued a traffic ticket for the stop sign violation. Funkhouser was held in Mercer County Jail on obstructing official business and resisting arrest. She was expected to be charged with drug possession Monday. Rodriguez is at large with charges of obstructing official business and possession of drug abuse instruments currently filed.  Anyone seeing Rodriguez should not attempt to stop or apprehend him. Please call the Celina Police Department at 419-586-2345 with any information regarding his where-abouts.
Additional drug charges were expected as the case is currently under review by Mercer County Prosecutor Mathew K. Fox.

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