SALT LAKE CITY — A New York man was charged Friday with keeping marijuana in two gift-wrapped boxes he claimed were for his mother's birthday.

Erik Michael Geotz, 25, of Endicott, N.Y., was driving east on I-80 on March 8 when he was stopped by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper for having an obstructed license plate, charges filed in 3rd District Court state. Geotz allegedly made "some suspicious statements," so the trooper deployed his narcotics detection dog.

The dog alerted the officer to the possible presence of narcotics in the vehicle. The trooper found 14 pounds of marijuana in gift-wrapped boxes in the trunk, the charges state. Fourteen pounds of marijuana has a possible street value of $42,000 or more.

The man told the trooper the boxes were his mother's birthday presents.

Geotz was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony, and legibility of license plate from 100 feet, a class C misdemeanor.