State Highway Patrol Nabs Massive Pot Stash Wrapped Up For Christmas

In sort of a drug-addled take on the classic Grinch tale, the Ohio State Highway Patrol seized 30 pounds of marijuana wrapped up as Christmas gifts yesterday.

The stash clocked in at around $192,000.

Armando Flores Deleon, 33, of Madison, Wis., was driving a 2005 BMW X3 SUV when he was pulled over for swerving on the Ohio Turnpike. The smell of his Christmas gifts tipped off the suspicions of the officer. He was tossed in Lorain County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a third-degree felony. If convicted, Deleon could face up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Meanwhile, troopers in Erie County kinda outdid their brethren when they seized 353 pounds of hydroponic marijuana the same day. That amounts to an estimated $1.6 million.

Thomas Whitlow, 30, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Kenneth Coffin, 54, and Lucas Franz, 33, both of Seattle, Wash., were taken to the Erie County Jail and charged with drug trafficking and possession of drugs - second-degree felonies. Convictions would carry punishments up to 16 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.

It's been a banner year for the highway patrol, which, as of Dec. 10, has made 1,423 more drug arrests than during the same time period last year.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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