“Suspect’s 40 minute detention, while awaiting drug K-9 unit was not unreasonable”.
In a case decided earlier this month, an Arizona Appeals Court ruled that an officer had enough “reasonable suspicion” to detain a suspect 40 minutes while awaiting the drug K-9 unit.
The court considered the “Totality of Circumstances” or “the whole picture”, to conclude that the detention was not unreasonable.
The suspect was pulled over, after the police officer observed the driver swerving and traveling at varied rates of speed.
The officer approached the vehicle, and requested the driver’s license, and registration. The driver complied as well as providing the rental car agreement.
The officer asked the driver where he was going, at which point the driver provided several answers. The officer reported that the answers were inconsistent, “confusing” and “perplexing”. The officer reported that the responses raised the officer’s suspicions.
The officer then noticed that there were no personal belongings in the vehicle. So he asked the driver if he was planning to stay in Phoenix AZ. The driver said no. The fact that the suspect was not planning to stay in Phoenix, but had no personal belongings in the vehicle, elevated the officer’s suspicions of potential criminal activity in progress.
The officer decided to do a background check on the suspect. The criminal records check revealed that the suspect had an extensive history of illegal drug trafficking and manufacturing crimes in a different state.
The officer asked for the suspect’s consent to search the rental car, and the suspect consented to the search.
Upon search of the trunk, the officer discovered two cardboard shipping boxes of “very solid weight” that were unlabeled, and taped closed. The officer asked the suspect to open the boxes, but the suspect refused.
At that point the officer requested the police department’s narcotics K-9 unit to be brought to the scene and check out the boxes. The K-unit arrived approximately 40 minutes later.
The police dog “bit one of the boxes” in the trunk, signaling to the officer that the K-9 detected drugs in the boxes. The police officer opened the boxes and found the Marijuana. Continue reading