Police in Texas charged a 24-year-old man with drug possession with the intent to distribute after heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana were allegedly discovered during a routine traffic stop. The man’s vehicle was pulled over in Austin on Dec. 6 for reckless driving, and a subsequent search is said to have yielded substantial quantities of heroin along with drug paraphernalia including plastic bags and rubber bands.
The Austin Police Department officer who pulled over the man’s car stated that he became suspicious when he noticed that the man had two cellphones. The officer said that this led him to believe the man was transporting drugs based on his previous experience in narcotics cases. The officer also claimed that the man acted nervously and refused to consent to a search of his vehicle.
According to police reports, the officer then called in a K9 unit. After the dog allegedly alerted police to the presence of drugs, a more thorough search was conducted, and the heroin, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were discovered. The man is said to have admitted to officers at the scene that he had a small quantity of marijuana on his person.
When confronted with facts like those in this case, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police reports carefully to ascertain whether probable cause existed for officers to summon a K9 unit. In Rodriguez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police may not extend the length of a routine traffic stop to call in drug sniffing dogs unless they have probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be discovered. Defense attorneys might seek to have drug charges dismissed when the evidence supporting such an action is questionable.
Source: The U.S. Supreme Court, Rodriguez v. United States, October Term 2014