A Leesburg man was arrested Thursday for possession of crack cocaine during a traffic stop in Fruitland Park.
Police spotted a white Hyundai SUV traveling south on Dixie Avenue at around 10:55 p.m., according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department. The vehicle’s left tag lamp was not on, leaving that side of the license plate unreadable.
The officer initiated a traffic stop and spoke to the driver, 47-year-old Willie Paul Leak, and the owner of the vehicle in the passenger seat. When asked for his license and registration, Leak was unable to give the officer a valid license. The officer then returned to his vehicle to check Leak’s driving history, the report said.
The check revealed Leak had been labeled a “habitual traffic offender” in September 2002 and June 2007, the report said. He also had 13 active driving suspensions and 13 prior convictions for driving with a suspended license. The officer returned to Leak and arrested him for driving without a license as a habitual offender.
As the officer spoke to the vehicle’s occupants, the smell of marijuana emitted from the vehicle’s interior. Both occupants denied having medical marijuana cards and using any form of hemp, but the owner stated her daughter had a card and was in the vehicle earlier that night, the report said.
The officer then conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle’s interior. During the search, a small plastic baggie of a white rocklike substance was found in the top portion of the center console. This would later test positive for crack cocaine, the report said.
The report stated both Leak and the owner denied having any knowledge of the crack cocaine. However, Leak took responsibility for the narcotics because he did not want his girlfriend to go to jail, the report said.
The South Carolina native was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and driving while license suspended, habitual. He was also issued a criminal citation for driving with a suspended license. Leak was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $7,000 bond.