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Hernando Deputies Stop Driver for Running Red Light, Accuse Him of Drug Trafficking

Stephen Edward Lewis | Hernando Sheriff | Arrests

The drugs were found by a police dog, Hernando deputies say.

HERNANDO COUNTY – Deputies have accused a man of trafficking in illegal drugs after a police dog reacted to the smell during a traffic stop, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Stephen Edward Lewis, 50, was charged with one count each of Trafficking in Methamphetamine and Possession of Marijuana.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputy K. Keiper was conducting proactive patrols in the area of Cortez Boulevard and Spruce Street about 8 p.m. Wednesday (June 24) when he said he saw the driver of a white Nissan Frontier fail to stop at the stop sign. Keiper followed the Nissan as it continued east on Cortez Boulevard. The driver of the Nissan did not stop at a red light when he turned south onto Deltona from Cortez.

Keiper stopped the NIssan and found Lewis driving with a woman in the front passenger’s seat.

While Keiper was checking Lewis’ license and records for warrants or other issues, Deputy G. Locke arrived with his K9 partner, Argo. Argo conducted a drug sniff on the exterior of the Nissan. Argo alerted to the smell of illegal narcotics and deputies searched inside the pickup truck.

Deputies said they found a black camera bag on the back seat. The bag contained a camera and two vacuum sealed bags that held a green leafy substance, consistent with marijuana. Deputies said they also found a black zippered pouch on the driver’s side floorboard. The pouch was closed and locked with a small padlock.

Lewis signed a waiver of search for the pouch.

Inside the pouch, deputies found two more vacuum sealed bags, both of which contained a green leafy substance, consistent with marijuana. The pouch also held two baggies, both of which contained a clear, crystal-like substance, consistent with methamphetamine.

Deputies said they found another vacuume-sealed bag that was open. It held a green leafy substance, consistent with marijuana.

Field tests were conducted on both substances.

The crystal-like substance tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The total weight of the methamphetamine was 15.2 grams.The green leafy substance tested positive for the presence of THC. The total weight was 26.4 grams.

Deputies arrested Lewis. The passenger, who had no outstanding warrants, was released. The Nissan Frontier was towed.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

Hernando Sheriff | Crime | Arrests | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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