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Drug dog Topper finds marijuana buds at DUI checkpoint Saturday
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A Ripon Police officer talks with a commercial trucker stopped at the police department’s DUI check point Saturday night on Jack Tone Road near the Flying J Truck Stop. Some 250 vehicles passed through the checkpoint that ran from 7 p.m. until about 1 a.m. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — Ripon Police Department’s drug dog “Topper” scored one for the good guys Saturday night by finding a small bottle of marijuana buds in a car that was sidelined at a DUI checkpoint on Jack Tone Road near Highway 99.

When his handler,  officer Gordon West,  opened the driver’s  door of the 1997 Plymouth Breeze the black Labrador retriever started digging violently at the seat and then under the seat where police discovered a small bottle of marijuana buds.

The driver of the car, Blanca Estela Campozano, 33, of Modesto, was charged with possession of marijuana and cited for driving on a suspended license by officer Trevor McGinnis.

Police searched the car further and found some $700 in cash along with a car stereo and amplifier with questionable serial numbers.  They confiscated those items and the cash – including a number of $2 bills – holding it all until their investigation is completed.

One of two men with her was on probation, police said. He claimed that the marijuana was his shortly after she claimed to have a cannabis card that she couldn’t produce for officers.  Police towed her vehicle placing it on a 30-day hold.  

Officers were attempting to keep the flow of traffic moving obviously not wanting  to delay the commercial truck traffic that was coming from the freeway toward Flying J Truck Stop.  One young mother displayed her frustration when she had to wait several minutes in the check point line by honking her horn at the police.   She told officers they needed to hurry because she had “a tired child” in the back seat of her car.

As the checkpoint drew to near closing at midnight, officers arrested Sandeep, Turna, 25, from Ontario, Canada for driving under the influence.  He told police he was in the states visiting in Riverbank.
“Topper” took home two trophies in recent police dog trials in Alameda County specifically for drug dogs.  Officer Gordon West said his canine won second place in the building search category among a total of 19 dogs, and also came in third in the overall judging.

The DUI checkpoint – one of several held in Ripon during the year – is funded through the Office of Traffic Safety.  More than 250 vehicles drove through the check point Saturday night being checked for having their driver’s licenses and for being under the influence.  One older woman from Modesto ,  who was driving with an expired license,  had to pull her car to the curb and wait for a licensed driver to come to Ripon and drive her home.