A routine traffic stop on the afternoon of Dec. 21 led to the recovery of marijuana with a street value of more than $400,000 according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. A 28-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man were taken into custody at the scene and charged with felony marijuana possession in connection with the drug haul. Reports indicate that the man was later released from the Carson City Jail after posting a bond of $22,000.

According to police reports, a Ford F-150 pickup truck being driven by the woman was pulled over by a Texas Highway Patrol vehicle on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 in the vicinity of Conway at approximately 2:45 p.m. However, initial reports do not reveal the nature of the traffic violation that prompted the police action or what led the trooper involved to call a K9 unit to the scene.

A more rigorous search of the vehicle was conducted after the police dog arrived at the scene, and reports suggest that the marijuana was found in vacuum-sealed packages that had been disguised as gift-wrapped Christmas presents. Police say that about 70 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $424,000 was discovered in the pickup truck. The couple were transporting the drugs from California to New York.

Cases such as this one often hinge on the admissibility of illegal drugs discovered during vehicle searches. The protections guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment are taken seriously by the courts, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have drug possession charges dismissed if police are not able to provide a valid reason for pulling a vehicle over. Attorneys could also demand that drug charges be dropped when police have extended the length of a traffic stop to allow a K9 unit to be called in.