The appellants in this case were convicted in a nonjury trial for possession of 230 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute. The marijuana was found in a locked trunk of a car that had been rented and driven by one of the defendants (marijuana possession). Another defendant was a passenger in the car at the time an immigration search was conducted.
The checkpoint where the search took place was on highway 35. The government often employs checkpoints at this location or one nearby.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the search in question occurred at around eight in the morning. The checkpoint at that time was divided into two sections, primary and secondary. The officers were conducting what is referred to as a blitz. This is where every car is stopped and searched to make sure that there are no aliens coming through.
This type of search for illegal immigrants is valid. Once the search of the vehicle in this case was started it was legitimate for the officers to look through all areas of the car where the aliens may be hiding. Evidence of other crimes may be seized at this time if it is in plain view.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant’s vehicle was searched and the officers asked the driver of the car for the key to the trunk. Both individuals denied being given a key to the trunk. The officers made a call to the rental agency and a key to the trunk was brought to the area. When the officers opened up the trunk of the vehicle they found marijuana.
Case Discussion and Decision
The facts that have been presented to the court show that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction of both the defendants. The search that was conducted was completely legal. The conviction and sentences are confirmed.
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