A traffic stop performed by an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety led to an apparent drug seizure on Sept. 23. The driver of the vehicle that was pulled over, a 58-year-old Paradise Valley, Arizona, man, was taken into custody. He subsequently appeared in a federal courtroom in Amarillo where he was charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the vehicle was initially pulled over on Interstate 40 in Carson County for speeding. The officer who pulled the vehicle over claims that he observed a number of indications of criminal behavior while interviewing the driver, and he then performed a records check on the man, which revealed that the driver had an outstanding Florida arrest warrant. The officer claims that the man then consented to have his vehicle searched.
The ensuing search is said to have revealed approximately five kilograms of cocaine packaged in 18 bundles. After being taken into custody, the man was interviewed by representatives of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Administration. During these interviews, he allegedly admitted that he was aware that his vehicle contained drugs. He is also said to have told authorities that he was transporting the cocaine to Alabama.
A criminal defense attorney could scrutinize the evidence in a case such as this one to ensure that the constitutional protections of the accused individual were not violated. Police must show that probable cause existed for a traffic stop, and they must be able to prove that any subsequent search was conducted only after receiving permission or obtaining a search warrant. Incriminating statements may also be challenged by a defense attorney when the individual making them was not properly advised of his or her right to remain silent.
Source: Amarillo Globe News, “Ariz. man faces drug trafficking charge after I-40 bust“, Jim McBride, September 25, 2014