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Man released from prison re-arrested an hour later

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- About an hour after being released from an Arizona prison, Daniel Clegg is behind bars again.

Pinal County Sheriff's officials said Clegg was arrested last week following an Interstate 10 traffic stop that turned up marijuana and a loaded handgun under the seat in a car he was riding in.

Clegg, 34, had been released from a privately operated state prison early Thursday after serving a drug conviction sentence out of Pima County.

``Daniel Clegg spent his one hour and six minutes of freedom by smoking marijuana, which he knew was illegal, and possessing a firearm, despite the fact he was a prohibited possessor,'' Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement. ``Now he will return to prison to spend some additional time behind bars. Hopefully, the next time he is released, he will make better choices and enjoy freedom a little bit longer by doing something constructive with his time.''

A sheriff's deputy stopped the vehicle Clegg was riding in after seeing the driver commit several traffic violations at 9:06 a.m. Thursday.

Clegg still had his state Department of Corrections identification card and the front of his shirt was covered with marijuana flakes, the deputy said.

Clegg was nervously and desperately trying to wipe the marijuana from his shirt onto the floor, according to the deputy.

``What? No, this isn't marijuana,'' Clegg reportedly told the deputy as he continued to wipe his shirt.

The deputy said he also could smell the distinct odor of marijuana inside of the car.

The driver said he had picked up Clegg from state prison in Florence at 8 a.m. and they were driving to Sahurita.

The deputy and a drug-sniffing dog searched the vehicle and found marijuana underneath the passenger's seat along with rolling papers in the passenger's side door pocket.

Also inside of the vehicle was a fully loaded 9mm handgun with hollow point bullets, authorities said. Clegg denied owning the gun.

He's been booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and misconduct involving a weapon.

Clegg has prior arrests for possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a narcotic drug, marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, theft, burglary and aggravated assault.

Authorities didn't immediately know Monday if Clegg has a lawyer.

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