This blog has noted on several occasions how a seemingly routine traffic stop can quickly become a cascade of more serious criminal charges. A woman stopped by police in nearby Marine, Illinois is now facing such allegations of various drug crimes relating to the transportation and sale of methamphetamine because of evidence discovered during that routine traffic stop.
According to the Marine police, the woman was stopped for an unspecified traffic violation. For reasons that have not been disclosed, one of the department's drug-sniffing dogs was directed to sniff the exterior of the woman's car. Police allege that the dog's reaction indicated the presence of a controlled substance. The police then say that they found 56 grams of methamphetamine in the vehicle. The woman was subsequently taken into custody.
On the following day, relying on information provided by the police report, the Madison County State's attorney issued a felony warrant charging the woman with methamphetamine tracking and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. The court set the woman's bond at $150,000.
The use of drug-sniffing dogs and the discovery of evidence not otherwise in plain view often causes evidentiary problems for the prosecution. For example, the police must demonstrate that they had probable cause. Without probable cause, a warrantless search will be deemed illegal, and any evidence gathered subsequent to that search will be inadmissible in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to uncover additional weak spots in the prosecution's chain of evidence and use those weaknesses to obtain a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, "Ohio woman faces meth trafficking charge," Oct. 13, 2017