COEUR d'ALENE - Maybe it's a case of high for the holidays. Maybe it's a case of the smelly "sweaters."
A Dec. 22 traffic stop for erratic driving on Interstate 90 turned into a marijuana bust in which Kootenai County sheriff's deputies found 3.3 pounds of the pungent drug plant packaged in Christmas presents.
Arrested was Jason D. Palmer, 36, of Springdale, Wash., which is northwest of Spokane. Palmer has been charged with felony trafficking in marijuana.
Also charged were two of Palmer's four kids, age 12 and 14, who were in the vehicle with him when he was pulled over and the pot was discovered. The boys were charged with frequenting.
Palmer, who works at Advanced Indoor Garden Supply, in north Spokane, has been released after posting his $20,000 bond, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13, court documents said.
According to a sheriff's deputy's report, Palmer was stopped east of Coeur d'Alene as he was driving from Montana, where he had been visiting family, to Washington.
Deputies said he was changing lanes repeatedly in a rented 2012 four-door Mazda wagon, and following too close behind other drivers.
After the vehicles pulled over, a deputy walked up to Palmer's driver's side window and found the smell of raw marijuana to be overpowering.
"When I made contact at the window, the odor increased its potency," the deputy wrote in his report.
Palmer was asked to exit the vehicle. He then told the deputy he is a medical marijuana card holder and had a small amount of "medicine" in the vehicle.
The deputy wrote, "I asked him what was in the presents and he stated some 'sweaters.'"
A K-9 unit was called to the scene, and the dog immediately went for the presents, which were unwrapped to find the drugs.
The sons were arrested because deputies believed the boys had knowledge of the presence of the drugs, court documents said.
Deputies also confiscated $800 cash Palmer had on him, which was seized for possible asset forfeiture.
In court last week, Palmer said he has no prior criminal history.