A routine traffic stop on the night of July 12 led to the discovery and seizure of about 78 pounds of marijuana according to a report from the Chamber’s County Sheriff’s Office. The 37-year-old Washington man who was driving the vehicle involved was taken into custody at the scene and then transported to the Chambers County Jail. He has been charged with drug possession, and his bond has been set at $40,000.
The deputy involved says that he decided to initiate a traffic stop when he observed a pickup truck failing to maintain a single lane on Interstate 10 near Baytown at approximately 10:50 p.m. He says he asked for permission to search the vehicle because the man behind the wheel seemed extremely nervous when questioned.
When the driver refused to consent to a search, a K9 unit was dispatched to sniff the air around the pickup truck. The dog allegedly alerted to the odor of narcotics during the air sniff, which gave the deputy probable cause to search the vehicle without a warrant or consent. Inside the pickup truck, the deputy says that he found 78 sealed plastic bags in four suitcases. Each bag reportedly contained about a pound of marijuana.
When presented with a sequence of events like these, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to determine if the police dog was present when the traffic stop was initiated. If the K9 unit was summoned to the scene after the vehicle had already been pulled over, attorneys might seek to have the seized evidence excluded and any narcotics charges linked to it dismissed. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that delaying traffic stops unreasonably so that drug-sniffing dogs can be summoned violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.