Police bust man with 230 lbs of pot

Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 17:57:18-04

St. Pete Police have arrested a man connected to 230 pounds of pot, $187,000 in cash and several guns.

Officers also confiscated extravagant jewelry from 24-year-old Vaughn Matthews' apartment.

"He doesn't have a job and the watch you see there... has been appraised at $55,000," Chief Anthony Holloway said during a news conference Friday.

Police say they received a tip last year saying Matthews was planning to hurt police officers.

Undercover cops started watching his apartment on Ibis Walk Place North in 2015. Officer say they quickly realized something else was going on. 

At the same time, United States Postal Service investigators became suspicious about packages being delivered to his home all the way from Los Angeles. The USPS and SPPD then started a joint investigation.

According to police, cash and drugs were being sent to Matthews' apartment via USPS.

Police served a warrant for Matthews' home on March 23.

According to Chief Holloway, Matthews never told his supplier that he had been pinched and the packages kept coming. The last delivery was two days ago. Police continued to collect the drugs and cash the entire time.

"(Matthews) just used his apartment to receive the marijuana and distribute to his suppliers," Chief Holloway said.

Holloway says the bust puts a huge dent in the Bay Area's marijuana trade and is potentially the tip of the iceberg in a national or international drug ring. 

More arrests are expected in St. Petersburg and in California.