November 25, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

In late September, Border Patrol Agents seized more than 15 pounds of crystal meth during a traffic stop on I-15 in Temecula, CA. It was reported by a U.S. Customs and Border protection news release that agents “spotted” a 23-year-old woman driving north in a Ford Focus near Winchester Road about 10:15 a.m. and pulled her over. A drug-sniffing dog was called out after the woman “provided inconsistent answers” to an agent’s questions. A subsequent search of the woman’s vehicle uncovered 18 bundles of crystal meth hidden in the dashboard, the release said. The woman, who apparently is pregnant, was turned over to a multi-agency drug task force.

There are so many questions raised by this news story. Clearly a pregnant woman who apparently was making cash as a drug “mule” is distressing in itself but, putting that aside, this story begs a number of legal questions. First, the release says that the woman was “spotted” driving north. Is that probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop her vehicle? Was she “spotted” breaking a traffic law?

Another question is whether this was a “roving patrol”? It clearly wasn’t a stop made at a fixed checkpoint so it sounds like the practice of a “roving patrol” which the U.S. Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional back in 1973. While all the facts are unclear at this point, it is clear that this woman desperately needs an experienced Riverside drug defense attorney at her side.

It should be pointed out that a Congressional probe of the Riverside County Border Patrol Office was sought in June of 2009 by the Union representing Border Patrol Agents. In May of 2009 the union filed two unfair labor practices complaints against the Riverside Border Patrol office. The complaint allegec that supervisors in the office were asking agents to pull over vehicles without probable cause, as required by law. The complaint also says that a supervisor ordered agents to pull over vehicles without explaining why. Looking at this recent arrest in light of the internal complaints by agents within the Riverside Border Patrol office, one can’t help but to question its constitutionality. In cases like this, an experienced Riverside drug defense attorney can help in presenting all constitutional challenges to this arrest.

It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney who can provide clarity in terms of your rights under the Constitution. If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime in California, contact the experienced Southern California drug crime defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or for a consultation of your case. We can help you.

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