Florida traffic stop leads to drug possession charges

A routine traffic stop on March 31 led to the discovery of undisclosed quantities of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. A deputy from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office says that he discovered the drugs during an inventory search of a Nissan SUV that he had pulled over for erratic driving in Daytona Beach. A 32-year-old man and 32-year-old woman were taken into custody in connection with the drug haul. Reports indicate that the pair were transferred to the Volusia County Jail after being processed by the VCSO.

According to reports, the deputy signaled the SUV to pull over after observing it failing to stop at a red light. The deputy says that the driver of the SUV continued to drive erratically and ignored several stop signs during a subsequent brief pursuit. Initial accounts of the incident suggest that the couple in the SUV were arguing over a package that deputies later determined had been stolen from the porch of an area resident. The package is said to have contained dog treats worth about $6.

The deputy says that his suspicions were aroused further when he noticed that the SUV contained a police scanner. A search of the vehicle is said to have led to the discovery of plastic bags containing methamphetamine residue, heroin and psilocybin mushrooms and a contact lens case that was being used to store powder cocaine. Police also claim to have discovered drug paraphernalia and a handgun magazine containing 11 rounds of ammunition.

Police officers are only permitted to perform warrantless vehicle searches when they have reason to believe that evidence of a crime will be discovered, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have drug possession charges dismissed when law enforcement may have violated protections against unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Attorneys may also seek to have charges dismissed when police officers delay traffic stops unnecessarily so that K9 units can be called in.

Source: The Miami Herald, "They stole an Amazon package of dog treats, cops say -- then the trouble started", Madeleine Marr, April 2, 2018

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