Troopers seize hydroponic marijuana wrapped Christmas gifts

ELYRIA, OH (Toledo News Now) - A Wisconsin man is facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 30 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, worth an estimated $192,000 following a traffic stop in Lorain County.

Troopers stopped a 2005 BMW X3 SUV with Illinois registration, for a marked lanes violation on the Ohio Turnpike near milepost 139 at 10:49 a.m. Thursday. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed 30 pounds of hydroponic marijuana concealed as wrapped Christmas gifts.

The driver, Armando F. Flores Deleon, 33, of Madison, WI, was incarcerated in the Lorain County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a third-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Also on Thursday in Erie County, troopers seized 353 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, worth more than $1.5 million.

Drug violations are up significantly this year. Through Dec. 10, OSHP has made 1,423 more drug arrests than during the same time period in 2011.

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