Man Busted With Over $300,000 In Pot Wrapped Up Like Christmas Presents

By Seth Ferranti 12/02/16

Cops unwrapped 71 pounds of marijuana, 360 THC pills and a pound of hash wax oil. 

Man Busted With Over $300,000 In Pot Wrapped Up Like Christmas Presents
Photo via YouTube

When Ohio state police pulled Daniel Yates of Eureka, California, and looked in the rented Ford Expedition he was driving, it was reminiscent of a Christmas jamboree. The back seat and trunk were stuffed full of Christmas presents. Somebody was going to have a very merry Christmas, it appeared.

Troopers pulled Yates over for following another vehicle too closely, and a drug-sniffing police dog was called in to investigate the contents of the presents. After being alerted by the K9, police unwrapped the presents and found 71 pounds of marijuana, 360 THC pills and a pound of hash wax oil. 

“With legal weed being grown in California, Washington and Denver at phenomenal rates, the weed has to go somewhere,” Jack, a man who grows weed in California (who prefers to go by a pseudonym) tells The Fix. “People want to smoke weed, good weed, and the states where it's legally grown have excess pounds of high quality bud. So people from other states come and buy it and try to get it back to where they're from, wrapping them in Christmas presents or whatever.”

Police estimated that the seizure was worth $330,000 on the street. Yates was arrested and now faces drug possession and trafficking charges. He is looking at up to 16 years in prison and a possible $30,000 fine. Instead of selling and smoking his bud over the holidays, he’ll now be in jail.

His merry Christmas has morphed into a criminal justice nightmare as he’s forced to go through the court system for hauling marijuana through the state—marijuana that was most likely grown legally elsewhere in the U.S. But it's obvious that Yates isn’t the only one who’s had that idea over the years.

In 2014, Ohio troopers busted a pair of smugglers in Erie County who were speeding on the Interstate. The Ohio state troopers detected the dank odor of crystallized buds as they approached the car. A search revealed a mother lode of pot goodies including marijuana cookies and five pounds of hydroponic weed inside large glass jars wrapped as Christmas presents.

Police said the drugs had a street value of $25,000. The driver and passenger, both of Eugene, Oregon, were locked up and charged with possession of marijuana. 

“I would say that kind bud and Christmas presents don’t mix in Ohio,” Jack says. “You better keep your legal bud where it’s legal. Taking it out of state and trying to capitalize can only lead to spending time in prison. And at Christmas no one wants to be in prison. Trust me.”

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.