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Dogs sniffs out drugs at traffic stop; driver jailed

A driver who was stopped for allegedly racing with another car on U.S. 19 was arrested on more serious charges after a drug sniffing dog led deputies to some marijuana Monday. Paul Richard Penninger Jr., 19, of 6850 S Maxwell Point, Homosassa, was stopped after a deputy clocked his speed at 71 mph on U.S. 19 near Ozello Trail, where the speed limit is 50. He was arrested shortly after midnight Monday, according to the arrest report. The deputy asked for permission to search Penninger's car, and Penninger refused. Then the deputy called for another deputy with a drug sniffing dog to walk around the car. The dog communicated to its handler that it smelled drugs, according to the report, giving the deputies the authority to search the car. About 100 grams, or nearly a quarter-pound of marijuana, was found in three plastic bags stashed inside a shoe box in the back seat, according to the arrest report. Penninger was charged with possession of a controlled substance and was released from jail after posting bail.

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