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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Bicyclist caught riding in the dark with drugs in his pocket

Paul Loren Byrne
Paul Loren Byrne

A 51-year-old Leesburg man was arrested on drug charges early Tuesday after being stopped for not having a headlight on his bicycle.

At around 1:45 a.m., a Leesburg police officer patrolling the area near South 14th and Sumter streets observed a man riding a bike southbound on 14th without a headlamp making him visible from 500 feet away as required by law. The officer stopped the bicyclist, who was identified as Paul Loren Byrne, of 1309 Maugans Ave.

Byrne appeared nervous and was sweating profusely. While the officer was explaining the reason for the traffic stop, Byrne tried to reach into his left pants pocket, revealing a clear glass pipe typically used for smoking narcotics. Byrne was immediately detained for possession of drug paraphernalia. The pipe was removed from Byrne’s pants pocket and the officer saw black residue at the bottom, indicating it had been used to smoke narcotics, according to the police report.

Byrne was searched prior to his arrest and the officer found a small clear plastic bag containing 2.5 grams of a white powder that later tested positive for cocaine. Byrne also had a small gray plastic bottle with 6.5 grams of a crystal rock substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, the report said.

Byrne was charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked at the Leesburg Police Department and then taken to the Lake County Jail, where he was released later in the day on $5,000 bond. Byrne is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on June 20.

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