Couple with pot Christmas gifts arrested again in Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A California couple arrested in Nebraska last month for carrying 60 pounds of marijuana they described as family Christmas gifts have again been arrested in Nebraska, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.
Patrick Jiron, 80, and his 70-year-old wife, Barbara, both of Clear Lake Oaks, California, were arrested Tuesday along Interstate 80 in southeastern Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. They were arrested last month along the same roadway — in the same vehicle — just two counties west.
Lancaster County sheriff's officials said the couple were passengers in a pickup truck that was stopped Tuesday on suspicion of following another vehicle too closely. A deputy said a search of the truck turned up a duffel bag carrying $18,000 in cash, an oversized garbage bag with raw marijuana residue inside it and notes consistent with marijuana sales.
A 42-year-old woman driving the truck was not arrested, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Instead, she was given a warning for the traffic violation and released, he said. Wagner did not know her relationship to the Jirons.
"The Jirons bonded out of jail," Wagner said. He did not know whether they were required to put up any money to bond out. Online court documents don't list an attorney for the Jirons.
Wagner said his department plans to turn the cash over to the federal Department of Homeland Security. If federal officials are successful in legally seizing the money, Lancaster County would get to keep about 60 percent of it, Wagner said.
Authorities have said that when the Jirons were arrested in York County on Dec. 19, they said they didn't know it was illegal to transport marijuana through Nebraska and that they were planning to give the drug as Christmas presents to relatives in Vermont and Massachusetts.
The Jirons are the parents of a Vermont prosecutor in Chittenden County, Justin Jiron. State's Attorney Sarah George has said Justin Jiron is not connected to his parents' alleged crime other than by relation.