Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety discovered about 290 pounds of marijuana during vehicle searches performed on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15. The drugs were allegedly being transported to destinations in Dallas and California. A 48-year-old California man and a 40-year-old Las Vegas resident have been taken into custody on felony drug possession charges in connection with the hauls. Both vehicles were pulled over by troopers on U.S. Highway 287.
According to reports, about 209 pounds of marijuana was discovered after a 2016 Volvo tractor was pulled over for a commercial vehicle inspection on Feb. 14 at approximately 6:30 a.m. in Childress County. The trooper involved is said to have discovered the drugs in several large duffel bags. A further 89 pounds of cannabis and about 17 grams of hashish was allegedly found the following afternoon when a Mercedes SUV was pulled over for a traffic violation in Wichita County at approximately 5:45 p.m.
The DPS says that troopers searched the Mercedes after a police dog alerted to the presence of drugs while sniffing the air around the vehicle. However, reports do not reveal if the SUV was pulled over by a K9 unit or a police dog was summoned to the scene.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may pay particular attention to police reports when drug charges hinge on narcotics that were discovered during vehicle searches involving K9 units. This is because the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that delaying traffic stops so that police dogs can be summoned to the scene violates protections against unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Attorneys could also seek to have drug evidence ruled inadmissible when police are unable to establish compelling probable cause for the initial traffic stop.
Source: The N.Y. Times, “Justices Rule That Police Can’t Extend Traffic Stops”, Adam Liptak, April 21, 2015