The elderly couple caught driving through rural Nebraska with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana in their vehicle? They were simply spreading holiday cheer, they told authorities.
Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, were pulled over Tuesday during a traffic stop by deputies with the York County Sheriff’s Department, who made a shocking discovery: The Jirons had 60 pounds of high-grade pot in their pickup truck, authorities said.
The couple, from Northern California, told authorities they were en route to Vermont, and that “the marijuana was for Christmas presents,” Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Vrbka told the York News-Times.
The Jirons were taken in on charges including possession with the intent to distribute, according to the newspaper. While multiple states have legalized marijuana, Nebraska has not.
In 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) called the substance “a dangerous drug,” writing in a column: “As the use of marijuana has been legalized in some states, including our neighbor Colorado, we have been able to observe the impact the legalization of marijuana has had not only in their state, but as well as our own. Legalization of marijuana for any purpose has proven to be a risky proposition because the controls placed on its use in other states have fallen short.”
When deputies pulled over the Jirons along Interstate 80 on Tuesday, they smelled “raw” marijuana and conducted a probable cause search — discovering the weed in boxes in the pickup topper, Lt. Vrbka told the News-Times.
Authorities estimated that the marijuana was worth about $336,000.
Asked whether the Jirons were still in custody Friday afternoon, a woman who answered the phone at the jail said simply: “They’re not here.”
Have they bonded out? a Washington Post reporter asked.
“Ma’am, I can’t say,” the woman said. “They’re just not here.”