Bear

Lancaster County sheriff's deputies handcuffed this giant teddy bear after finding him stuffed with marijuana during a traffic stop on Interstate 80.

Courtesy photo

LINCOLN — A giant carnival-sized teddy bear landed a California man in jail Tuesday after a Lancaster County sheriff’s deputy performed surgery on the stuffed animal and found 4 pounds of pot hidden in its belly.

Sheriff Terry Wagner said a deputy stopped Leon Chesney in a 2016 Nissan Sentra around 1:15 p.m. just west of Lincoln and smelled marijuana.

A search turned up a 4-feet-tall teddy bear in the trunk, he said.

Wagner said the deputy squeezed the light brown bear that smelled of pot, felt what he thought were vacuum-sealed bags, cut open the bear and found the marijuana.

He called it one of the more ingenious ways he's seen marijuana concealed. Generally, drugs are hidden in car parts or voids.

“This was a little bit unusual and somewhat hilarious,” Wagner said.

Chesney, of Oceanside, California, was jailed on suspicion of possession of more than a pound of marijuana. He posted bond and was out by 6 p.m.

The bear, on the other hand, stayed behind locked up in evidence. He was photographed in cuffs, a smile frozen on his face.

In another case, Nebraska State Patrol troopers seized 126 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Tuesday near the Pleasant Dale interchange.

Troopers found the marijuana in six bags inside the cargo area of an eastbound 2017 Kia minivan, which was stopped around 3 p.m. for straddling the center line, according to a patrol news release.

The trooper who stopped the van said it smelled like marijuana, according to the release.

Troopers arrested driver Glenn T. Smith and passenger Juan Reyes, both 43 and of California, on suspicion of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp, the release says. Both were lodged in the Seward County jail.

The patrol estimated the drugs' street value at $378,000.

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