WOOD RIVER — The Nebraska State Patrol arrested a California man and seized nearly 70 pounds of marijuana hidden inside gift-wrapped boxes during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Wood River on Thursday afternoon.

At about 3 p.m., a trooper observed an eastbound Toyota 4Runner following another vehicle too closely near mile marker 296. During the traffic stop, the trooper discovered a meth pipe and a gram of methamphetamine on the driver’s person.

Troopers then searched the vehicle and found 68 pounds of marijuana hidden inside several large, gift-wrapped boxes, according to the State Patrol. The driver stated the boxes were gifts for a new baby.

The driver, Joseph Hullinger, 56, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was arrested for possession of more than a pound of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and no drug tax stamp. Hullinger was lodged in Hall County Jail.

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