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Police seize illegal marijuana in traffic stop of California man

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects the citizens of the United States from an unreasonable search and seizure of their property and persons. If a police officer or government agent fails to perform a lawful search and obtains evidence of an illegal activity the evidence is often deemed inadmissible in court. This can include any evidence of a drug trafficking offense that is obtained during an ordinary traffic stop.

Two California men are in custody following a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in Power County, Idaho, west of Chubbuck. The men were traveling east along I-86 when they were stopped. Pursuant to the traffic stop, authorities reportedly discovered 11 pounds of marijuana. Idaho law enforcement claim that the California men were stopped for an alleged traffic violation, which lead to the subsequent seizure of the illegal drugs.

Police identified the driver of the vehicle as a 20 year-old male from Auburn, California. The passenger has been identified as 29-year-old male from Rocklin, California. Authorities have since incarcerated the driver in the Power County Jail. He is charged with felony drug trafficking charges and felony possession charges. The passenger in the vehicle is charged with the misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

In general, law enforcement officers need a warrant, probable cause or consent to search a motorist's car for drugs. If a driver denies consent and the officer does not have a search warrant, the officer must have probable cause to believe the suspect is engaged in drug trafficking or drug importation. Probable cause requires specific facts and circumstances, rather than an officer's hunch or suspicion of drug crime. Because of constitutional protections of this nature, it is important that all people charged with drug trafficking crimes explore all legal possibilities for defense.

Source: Rocklin Today, "Rocklin Man Charged with Drug Trafficking in Idaho," December 23, 2013

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