K-9 team finds 79 marijuana plants during training

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

A K-9 team sniffed out 79 marijuana plants growing in a field during a training exercise in Volusia County on Wednesday, authorities said.

Santo, a police dog in training, stumbled on a bust so rare that his handler calls it one-in-a-million.

"He has been doing drug detection now for about four weeks," said Migul Rodriguez of the Kenton County Kentucky Sheriff's Department.

The 19-month-old K-9-in-training has been working in Florida for six weeks to become the newest member of the Kenton County, Ky., Sheriff's Department.

Wednesday's lesson took him to a woods near S.R. 44 and S.R. 415 in the New Smyrna Beach area, according to investigators.

"They just go out, lay a track or hide in the woods or a house or whatever the case may be, and then your dog tracks him. That's what we were doing that day," said Rodriguez.

But instead of following that scent, Santo picked up on something else in the brush, Rodriguez said.

"He's got the head snap, his tail goes a little bit faster, he breathes a little heavier, he gets a little happier. So it was pretty clear something was going on," said Rodriguez.

Santo pulled Rodriguez to a tent filled with 79 pot plants and a pound of cultivated marijuana. Investigators said it was worth about $80,000.

Santo won't officially get his badge until he returns to Kentucky next week. Rodriguez said he may not have another bust like this in his entire career.

"It's not a bad day, not a bad day, not a bad find for his first one," said Rodriguez.

The Volusia Bureau of Investigation (VBI) was called out to investigate the accidental find. The investigation led agents to a home on Monza Drive near the tent.

Authorities said they arrested Anthony Parrish, 38, on charges of possession and manufacture of marijuana. Agents said they also found a small amount of marijuana in Parrish's trailer.

Parrish was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach with $3,000 bail.