Friday, November 4, 2016

A 63 y/o Grandmother is Arrested for Trafficking after a K9 Sniffs out $500,000.00 worth of Cocaine in her Luggage from a Las Vegas to Detroit Flight ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Meet 63 y/o Cheryl Cheatham, a grandma from Phoenix.  That's her below...

Cheryl, unlike most grandma's, is, at best, a drug mule.

On Friday, October 14th, 2016, Cheryl landed in Detroit on a red eye out of Las Vegas, which is a known, and a routinely surveilled, drug smuggling route.  According to the feds it was her alleged and reported "suspicious behavior" at the Detroit Metropolitan Area Airport's luggage carousel that put her on the DEA's radar.

While standing at the baggage claim area DEA Agents reported that they observed Cheryl looking suspiciously for her luggage, allegedly checking the tags on several pieces of luggage "as if she did not own the luggage for a very long period".  After she eventually picked up two large suitcases she hopped in a cab and federal officers decided to follow her to a hotel, where she did not check in.  Instead, she hopped into a chauffeured SUV at the hotel, with her luggage, and headed onward, with the feds following behind.

The feds contacted local law enforcement and had a State Trooper, accompanied by a police K-9, conduct a traffic stop.  (Note that the traffic stop was, both admittedly and significantly, not for a violation of traffic law but was, instead, what is referred to as a "PC / probably cause stop".)

Once stopped the driver of the SUV reportedly gave consent for officers to search the vehicle, the K-9 alerted on Cheryl's luggage... 

and more than $500,000.00 worth of cocaine was found inside.

At her initial appearance / bond hearing in Federal Court Cheryl's lawyer sought terms of release citing her numerous health issues, reportedly including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, diabetes and emphysema, while the government argued that her numerous convictions, dating back to Cheryl's early 30s, and reportedly including shoplifting, selling and possessing drugs, theft (for which she spent 6.5 years in prison) and failing to appear in court seven (7) times mitigated against bond.  Judge David R. Grand went with the government's request, denying Cheryl bond and instead detaining her in MI pending trial. 

When making his ruling Judge Grand reportedly stated that: "People make bad choices when they're younger but as they get older better decisions are made... Unfortunately, in your situation, that doesn't seem to have happened.  Here we are in 2016, and you're caught with this substantial amount of narcotics."

Memo to the Folks:  The cops (local, municipal, feds... it matters not) have a saying: "You might beat the rap but you won't beat the ride."  Every case is different and, when it comes to 4th Amendment analysis, this holds especially true.  Based on what I have read I question the legitimacy of the "PC traffic stop".   Following is the definition of probable cause...

Memo to the Folks continued:  Known "drug smuggling route" or not, and getting that I am not DEA and do not see things through their lens, still I fail to get what's so reasonably suspicious about an elderly person struggling at an airport to locate her luggage?  How does this warrant a federal tail?  And so she took a cab to a hotel and then hopped into another vehicle.  Suspicious?  Perhaps.  But enough for "PC"?  For "an officer of ordinary caution to believe that the particular thing to be seized in a search is reasonably connected to the crime in question, and that it can be found at the place to be searched"?  I don't know about that.  Yes, the drugs were found, that much is indisputable, but for law enforcement in the USA the ends are not permitted to justify the means.  Our constitutional system does not permit "profiling", and, to my mind, that is precisely what was done to grandma in this case.  So, for now, the old saying holds true... "Cheryl might beat the rap but she won't beat the ride."

When it comes to the subject of "Cops, Courts and Constitutions" you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests.  While we can't stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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