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Defendant charged with drug crimes after traffic stop

A North Carolina teenager is facing felony drug charges after he was allegedly found with a large amount of marijuana in his vehicle on April 26. The young man, age 18, was pulled over by a law enforcement officer when she noticed that he was speeding and using his brights unnecessarily, in addition to driving erratically. The man was accused of the drug crimes after a search of his vehicle revealed the small bags of marijuana in his car.

Authorities report that the man is charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule VI controlled substance. Officers said they found drug paraphernalia include a scale and a grinder, along with several small bags of pot and two rolls of cash. In all, more than $2,500 was retrieved from the man's car.

The defendant was in the vehicle with several passengers. The officer reportedly began a search of the vehicle after noticing an open bottle of vodka in the passenger compartment. The passengers all denied putting anything except the alcohol in the vehicle, but the defendant reportedly acquiesced and told the officers that the marijuana was in the trunk. Authorities say the defendant was found with several hundred dollars in cash in his pockets.

Law enforcement officers are bound to certain mandates when conducting roadside searches. It is critical that these searches are conducted in a certain manner -- both to protect the defendant and to preserve potential evidence. Some officers engage in illegal search and seizure methods that may seem completely ethical at first blush. However, criminal defendants facing drug charges can still be victimized by unscrupulous cops who search without probable cause. Drivers should know their rights and insist that they be protected during any traffic stop, no matter how routine.

Source: The News Herald, "Teen charged with felony drug possession" No author given, Apr. 28, 2014

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