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St. Petersburg man trafficked 230 pounds of marijuana worth $1M, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — After investigating a man found with a large amount of marijuana inside his apartment last month, police said, they discovered he had brought more than 230 pounds of the drug into the city since last year.

Police said that starting in February 2015, Vaughn "Nino Breeze" Matthews, 23, received large shipments of marijuana and cash from Los Angeles at his apartment.

When police searched Matthews' apartment at 871 Ibis Walk Place N on March 23, they discovered 23 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana packaged for distribution inside his kitchen cabinets, three guns on the countertop, and $87,000 in alleged drug money, according to the police.

As the investigation continued, St. Petersburg police partnered with the U.S. Postal Service and confirmed that Matthews had used the mail system to bring in more than $168,000 in drug money and 230 pounds of marijuana, which would have a street value totaling more than $1 million, the police said.

Matthews was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and felon possession of a firearm, both second-degree felonies with maximum sentences of 15 years in prison. He has been released on bail and awaits trial.

Police Chief Anthony Halloway said getting people like Matthews off the street is a big step for the department.

"If we take out a street level person, they are going to be replaced the next day, so we are trying to go after the people that are bringing these drugs into our community," he said. Matthews "is a guy who was hurting our community, bringing drugs … and bringing it down."

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