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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Routine traffic stop in California leads to drug seizure

A routine traffic stop on the afternoon of March 23 led to the discovery of a significant amount of drugs and a handgun according to a report from the Long Beach Police Department. A 30-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman have been taken into custody in connection with the seized narcotics. Media reports indicate that they are being held in Los Angeles County detention facilities, and their bail has been set at $1 million.

The officers involved say that the sequence of events began when they pulled over an unidentified vehicle for performing an unsafe lane change at approximately 12:45 p.m. near the intersection of Cherry Avenue and East 36th Street. Officers say that a K9 unit was called to the scene when the man behind the wheel admitted that drugs were concealed in the car.

The ensuing search is said to have led to the discovery of 15 packages of drugs wrapped in plastic. Police say that they obtained a search warrant for the couple's residence where a handgun and an additional 32 bundles of drugs were allegedly found. The couple faces a raft of charges including drug possession and drug trafficking.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise their clients to make no admissions to police or consent to any searches even if the situation seems grim. This could be especially true when serious drug crimes are involved and police urge cooperation by threatening to call a drug-sniffing dog to the scene. Remaining silent in this situation may be prudent because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that delaying traffic stops to call in K9 units for a search unrelated to the reason for the stop violates protections guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, Long Beach Police K-9 Sniffs Out Big Drug Stash, Mike Bebernes, March 23, 2019Source: The U.S. Supreme Court, Rodriguez v. United States

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