Police dog sniffs out gift-wrapped marijuana

Looks like one of Santa’s elves was caught green-handed.

Novato police arrested a San Jose man on Saturday night after they say a police dog sniffed out three pounds of marijuana wrapped as Christmas gifts from the man’s car.

Estimated to be worth $10,000, the discovery was made after Novato police officer Jeff Ames pulled over a vehicle on Highway 101 on suspicion that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Ames smelled pot as soon as he contacted the driver, said Lt. Oliver Collins. And that’s when K9 officer Metz, a Belgian malinois breed, sprung into action.

Metz zeroed in on two large boxes wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper, and an hour later, the naughty elf was booked at Marin County Jail.

Hubert Herman Miller, 39, faces felony charges of transportation and possession of marijuana for the purposes of sale.

This isn’t the first successful sniff-out for Metz, who resembles a smaller German Shepherd and¬†joined Novato’s trio of narcotics-trained police dogs in July 2011. In October the pooch helped locate meth and marijuana in one Oregon man’s car.

The Novato Police Department is the only law enforcement agency in Marin County with a K-9 unit.