Huntington Beach Man Arrested With $100K of Meth and Heroin
Last week, a 41-year-old Huntington Beach man was arrested with $100K worth of meth and heroin. While he may not quite have reached Walter White status, he's facing enhanced charges as he had 25 lbs of methamphetamine and 289 grams of heroin. Currently, he is in custody after pleading not guilty to multiple charges, awaiting his next hearing on October 28, 2016, where bail may be reconsidered.
Officers arrested the suspected drug dealer after pulling him over for a traffic stop. A K9 unit arrived on the scene, and with the help of a doggy's keen nose, officers discovered the giant stash. The drugs were packaged in multiple containers, which is a generally a sign to officers that the drugs were intended for sale.
From Traffic Stop to Drug Trafficking
When officers make traffic stops, they occasionally suspect that there is something more illegal going on than a speeding violation or a burnt out taillight. However, an officer needs more than just a hunch to search your car, even if you were pulled over for breaking one of the countless rules of the road.
Unless provided with permission, an officer cannot search a vehicle they stopped, unless they have probable cause. If there is something illegal in plain sight through the windows, or some evidence that a crime has been committed (which can be something as trivial and legal as an empty beer can in the back seat), that will be enough to provide an officer with probable cause.
Another way officers can get probable cause is by using their furry, four legged partners. When an officer has a hunch that there are drugs in a car, one frequently employed technique is to delay citing a driver for the traffic violation until a K9 unit can arrive. Courts have routinely ruled that walking a drug sniffing dog around a vehicle is not a search and does not require probable cause. However, if the dog barks, or indicates in some other doggy way that they smell drugs, that will provide the officer with the requisite probable cause to search the vehicle.
Enhanced Charges for Large Quantities of Drugs
Most states allow prosecutors to place enhancements on criminal charges. While this sounds like it makes a criminal charge better, it most certainly does not if you are the defendant.
Enhanced criminal charges typically allow for and often require harsher sentences be issued for convictions. Enhancements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but are typically added when there is something beyond the norm. Frequently enhancements are added when there is a certain quantity or greater of a drug, or if the arrest or crime happened near a school, park or other place where children are present, or if the crime involved certain weapons, or gang involvement.
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