Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Elyria 69°


Troopers find 30 pounds of hydroponic marijuana wrapped as Christmas presents


Troopers seized 30 pounds of hydroponic marijuana they discovered wrapped as Christmas presents during a traffic stop on the Turnpike yesterday.

The State Highway Patrol stopped a 2005 BMW X3 SUV with an Illinois registration for a marked lanes violation just before 11 a.m. about a mile west of state Route 58.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle, and troopers determined that what appeared to be gifts contained marijuana valued at $192,000, according to a news release.

The vehicle's driver, Armando F. Flores Deleon, 33, of Madison, Wis., was charged with possession of marijuana and taken to the Lorain County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Just a day earlier troopers seized 353 pounds of hydroponic marijuana worth more than $1.5 million during a traffic stop on the Turnpike in Erie County.

Thomas J. Whitlow, 30, of Minneapolis and Kenneth C. Coffin, 54, and Lucas D. Franz, 33, both of Seattle were arrested in that incident.

According to the patrol, drug violations are up significantly this year.

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