9th Circuit: FACTS, CANINE ALERT JUSTIFY DRUG SEARCH

9th Circuit: FACTS, CANINE ALERT JUSTIFY DRUG SEARCH

There is probable cause to search a car for drugs when an officer knows relevant DEA facts and circumstances, and also because his sniffing dog alerts the odor of narcotics, the 9th circuit court held.

This case began in the early morning hours when an Oregon state trooper pulled over suspect Indalecio Ibarra.

As the officer began to write a citation, a second officer walked his drug -detecting dog around Ibarra’s car. The dog’s scratching at the car door indicated it was trying to get to the source of odor.

After Ibarra signed a consent form, the dog alerted to a load of methamphetamine in the car’s console. The officers also found a bag with large amounts of cash.

Ibarra pleaded guilty, preserving his right to appeal. He argued the search of the car’s interior was only on pretext, probable cause alone cannot be justified, and the presence of the dog alone rendered the seizure unreasonable.

The 9th circuit judges pointed out the Supreme Court held probable cause alone does not justify a search or seizure in cases where searches or seizures are extraordinary.

The case here, said the appeals court, does not involve a search or seizure conducted in “an extraordinary manner” as described by the high court.

The circuit concluded the officers’ search and seizure were reasonable under the 4th Amendment.

Inf.: U.S. v. Ibarra, 02-30389, 9th Circ., Sept. 26. The circuit consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Copyright Washington Crime News Service Dec 15, 2003

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