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Puffington Bear

Sheriff's deputies handcuffed this giant teddy bear after finding it stuffed with marijuana during a traffic stop on Interstate 80.

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 at about 1:15 p.m. on Interstate 80 just west of Lincoln and smelled marijuana.

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

Wagner said the deputy squeezed the 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 as evidence. It was photographed in cuffs, a smile frozen on its face.

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Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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