Police in Florida say that a traffic stop in the early hours of April 22 led to the seizure of cocaine and heroin. A 31-year-old woman has been charged with felony drug possession in connection with the narcotics haul. Reports indicate that she is being held at the Monroe County Jail, and her bond has been set at $58,500. She also faces several counts of possessing narcotics equipment and has been cited for driving without a valid driver’s license.
The series of events began when deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office pulled over a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV on U.S. Route 1 in Key Largo. Reports indicate that the car was stopped because its registered owner, a 40-year-old man, was being sought by authorities in connection with a hit-and-run accident. Deputies say that the situation escalated when they discovered that the woman behind the wheel was driving with a suspended license.
A subsequent search of the SUV is said to have led to the discovery of several plastic bags containing white powder in a backpack and a small amount of heroin in a wallet. Deputies also claim to have found several items of drug paraphernalia, including syringes and metal spoons with traces of what appeared to be heroin on them. Deputies say that a field drug testing kit identified the white powder as crack cocaine.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely have several questions when presented with facts like these in a case involving drug charges. While a motor vehicle infraction or an outstanding warrant may provide law enforcement with the probable cause necessary to pull a vehicle over, police officers may not conduct warrantless searches unless they are granted permission or have sound reason to believe that evidence of criminal activity will be discovered. Defense attorneys may also question the reliability of field drug testing kits that have been known to identify benign substances like sugar and baking powder as cocaine or methamphetamine.
Source: The Miami Herald, Florida Keys deputies find 9-year-old boy in car full of drugs during 1 a.m. traffic stop, David Goodhue, April 24, 2018