HANCOCK COUNTY — A check on a license plate on Interstate 70 led to the arrest Tuesday of a New York man wanted in a slaying there the day before.
Muhammad Habib, 24, Queens, New York, is wanted on multiple felony charges in New York including a count of second-degree murder related to the stabbing death of a 43-year-old man Monday, April 13, in Queens County.
In addition, Habib faces several local drug charges; members of the Proactive Criminal Enforcement task force, also known as PACE, found quantities of substances believed to be marijuana and other drugs in the car Habib was driving. They also recovered pills.
A woman Habib was traveling with, Khusbu Patel, 22, Queens, also was arrested and faces similar local charges.
Both are being in held in the Hancock County Jail awaiting extradition. Local charges are pending, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Capt. Robert Harris, public information officer from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, said it’s likely the suspects will be sent back to New York to face the more serious charges.
On Tuesday, April 14, Habib and Patel apparently were on their way to Missouri, according to reports, when they caught the attention of Sgt. James Goodwin of the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, a member of the PACE team who was patrolling westbound I-70 near the Hancock/Henry County line.
The white Honda Civic was committing multiple lane violations, prompting him to run the license plate, according to a report. Goodwin soon learned the occupants were wanted on felony charges and were considered armed and dangerous.
Other officers converged on the area, and Habib and Patel were stopped near the 109-mile marker of westbound I-70, about five miles east of the Greenfield exit.
“It could have been a very dangerous situation,” Harris said.
Goodwin and Sgt. Nick Ernstes of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, the PACE team coordinator, searched the vehicle and found two pounds of suspected marijuana, suspected crack cocaine, multiple packages of illicit pills and heroin. Patel was found to have concealed suspected narcotics in her clothing, the report said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted in the arrest, including the Indiana State Police, the Knightstown Police Department, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Shirley Police Department.