The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘Anyone misplace 9 lbs of weed,’ D.C. police asked on Twitter

D.C. police tweeted these photos of 9 pounds of marijuana seized on Saturday January 6, 2016 after someone sent it to an address where a recipient called the police. (N/A/DC Police)

The box from FedEx contained eight vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana, and it left D.C. police with a question they posed on Twitter:

"Anyone misplace 9 lbs of weed over the weekend? Feel free to stop by #DCPolice headquarters . . . we'd be happy to chat."

It turned out police were just making a point. They already had a suspect in custody — a 25-year-old named Jacob Greenbaum of Leesburg, Va., charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute. It's legal to possess marijuana in the District, but only up to two ounces.

Greenbaum was arrested Saturday after police said he tried to retrieve the box that had been sent to the Blind Whino, a nonprofit community arts program in the 700 block of Delaware Avenue SW, housed in a Baptist church built in 1886.

The group's co-founder, who could not be reached, wasn't expecting the box, nor had anyone there ordered it. It was postmarked Backyard Farm, Colo. The co-founder told police he discovered the contents and dialed 911.

Drugs frequently get distributed in hidden compartments in cars, but they also crisscross the country in the way people used to communicate with Grandma — by mail. And people utilizing this method to send illegal items often use an address that they have no connection to, with plans to come and claim it if it seems to have escaped the attention of law enforcement.

"Sometimes drug packages are addressed to vacant properties with the expectation that the postal carrier will just leave it at the address," federal authorities said in an unrelated search warrant on a package recently intercepted through the mail.

In this case, police said the intended recipient contacted the Blind Whino after being notified the package had been signed for. The co-founder, by then working with police, agreed to meet the intended recipient, identified in court documents as Greenbaum. He was arrested when he showed up on Saturday to claim the package.

Greenbaum could not be reached for comment. He was freed pending a court hearing Jan. 31. His attorney did not return calls or an email seeking comment.