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Wash. man arrested with marijuana wrapped as gifts

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A Washington state man faces felony marijuana trafficking charges after an officer found 3.3 pounds of marijuana wrapped up as Christmas gifts during a traffic stop in northern Idaho.

Jason D. Palmer, 36, of Springdale, Wash., was arrested Dec. 22 as he returned from a trip to Montana, where he had been visiting family, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported Thursday.

Kootenai County sheriff’s officials said Palmer was stopped east of Coeur d’Alene because his vehicle was repeatedly changing lanes and following other drivers too closely. The officer said he smelled marijuana as he approached the vehicle.

“When I made contact at the window, the odor increased its potency,” the deputy wrote in his report.

Palmer told the officer he was a medical marijuana cardholder and had a small amount of “medicine” in the vehicle.

“I asked him what was in the presents and he stated some ‘sweaters,”’ the deputy wrote.

A drug-sniffing dog indicated the packages contained drugs and officers opened them, court records said.

Deputies also seized $800 in cash Palmer had with him.

Palmer’s 12- and 14-year-old sons, who were in the vehicle with him, face charges of frequenting. The boys were arrested because deputies believed they had knowledge of the presence of drugs, court records said.

A phone message left for prosecuting attorney Barry McHugh, seeking information on the charges the children faced, was not immediately returned.

Palmer has been released after posting a $20,000 bond and a preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 13, court records said. The judge ordered a public defender be appointed for Palmer.

A phone listing for Palmer in Springdale, Wash., could not be located. He works at a hydroponics supply store in north Spokane.

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