An elderly couple busted last week for trying to give away 60 pounds of high grade marijuana as a Christmas present are the parents of a top prosecutor in Vermont, it was learned on Thursday.
Patrick Jiron, 80, and his 83-year-old wife Barbara Jiron were arrested in Nebraska last Tuesday after they were stopped by York County Sheriff’s deputies on Interstate 80.
They claimed they were going to give the marijuana away as Christmas gifts to relatives in Vermont and Boston.
The Jirons are the parents of Justin Jiron, the chief deputy state’s attorney for Chittenden County, Vermont’s most populous county.
The county seat is Burlington, which is The Green Mountain State’s largest city by population.
‘Justin is in no way connected to this allegation other than by relation,’ his boss, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, told the Burlington Free Press.
Justin Jiron (left) is the chief deputy state’s attorney for Chittenden County, Vermont. On December 19, his parents, Patrick Jiron (right), 80, and 83-year-old wife Barbara Jiron, were arrested on Tuesday in York, Nebraska with 60 pounds of marijuana
‘Justin is and has been a dedicated public servant for over 15 years, and I assure you he is as surprised and upset about these allegations as anyone.’
Authorities in Vermont say there is no indication that Justin Jiron is linked in any way to his parents’ alleged crime, according to the Free Press.
‘I don’t think he knew anything about what his parents were bringing over or what they intended to do with it,’ said John Campbell, the executive director of the Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs.
‘From what I understand, this is as much as a shock to him and a surprise that it is to anyone else who has heard about it.’
‘Justin, I can say, is one of the most upstanding prosecutors I know and also one of the most upstanding human beings,’ Campbell said.
‘He’s also an officer of the court, and I would assume that if he was asked by his employer if he had any knowledge or involvement that she obviously is satisfied with his response.
‘If she’s satisfied, I’m certainly satisfied, because she works with him every day.’
Authorities in Vermont say there is no indication that Justin Jiron is linked in any way to his parents’ alleged crime. He is seen left with his wife, Haley Woodside-Jiron, in an undated photo
Justin Jiron refused to comment on his parents’ arrest.
In January, Justin Jiron became chief deputy under George. Before that, he worked for TJ Donovan, who is currently Vermont’s attorney general.
Justin Jiron is considered a rising star in the state attorney’s office. He has handled a number of high-profile criminal prosecutions in Vermont.
He prosecuted Brian Rooney for the 2006 abduction, rape, and murder of a 21-year-old college student, Michelle Gardner-Quinn.
Justin Jiron also handled the prosecution of Christopher Williams, who killed two people in Essex, Vermont after going on a shooting spree in 2006.
On December 19, authorities found large quantities of marijuana stashed in the back of the Toyota Tacoma pickup belonging to Patrick and Barbara Jiron.
‘Justin is in no way connected to this allegation other than by relation,’ his boss, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George (above), told the Burlington Free Press
The high grade marijuana had an estimated street value of $336,000, according to the sheriff’s office.
The elderly couple told officers they were on their way to Vermont from their home in Clearlake Oaks, California.
California legalized recreational use of marijuana last year, as did Massachusetts. The state legislature in Vermont is planning to consider legalizing marijuana consumption.
They added that the marijuana was for Christmas presents.
The couple were initially stopped when officers spotted their pickup driving over the center line and failing to signal.
About 60 pounds of marijuana was found in the couple’s pickup truck. The high grade marijuana had an estimated street value of $336,000
Deputies said they could immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana when they approached the truck.
They searched the vehicle and found the drugs stored in the pickup’s topper.
The couple were taken into custody on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp.
The Jirons told authorities that they were not aware that possession of marijuana is illegal in Nebraska.
Patrick Jiron was charged with the felonies, while his wife was left off with a citation.