Hammond Mayor Says Pot Arrest a Political Trick

Mayor Thomas McDermott left call for Sheriff Rogelio Dominguez

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Lake County sheriff has released a telephone message left by Hammond's mayor criticizing the arrests of a political supporter and city worker on charges they were growing marijuana plants in their backyard.

    Sheriff Rogelio Dominguez says he decided to make public the message from Mayor Thomas McDermott because "I have never been intimidated by political threats."

    McDermott said he called the fellow Democrat's cell phone on Saturday over concerns about the appropriateness of arresting the couple and their two sons over a small amount of marijuana. In the message, he called the arrest "the dirtiest trick."

    "As you probably know, I'm sure you do know, that Dave Woerpel was arrested, his wife was arrested, his two sons were arrested. They were swept up, because there was five tiny pot plants growing in their backyard. Nonetheless, they were swept up in a warrant. Tina was arrested in front of her employees in the recycling center. You would think they were growing pounds and pounds of marijuana in the backyard, but it turns out they were growing five small, little plants, which leads me to believe that somebody is playing politics, and it's got to be either you or (Lake County Police Chief) Marco (Kuyachich) or (Lake County Prosecutor) Bernie (Carter). So I'm calling all three of you, and I'm going to let you know that I'm definitely getting involved in the sheriff's race, and I'm pissed off. Roy, this is completely, completely uncalled for. Dave Woerpel is the captain of the 5th District, captain in the city of Hammond; very, very powerful, very, very political, and you guys arrested him and he had nothing to do with it. Nothing. Roy, that's the dirtiest trick I've ever seen. Have a nice day."

    From the Northwest Indiana Times: Audio of McDermott's Call

    A state police spokeswoman says the plants were spotted during a routine aerial survey.