Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Routine Traffic Stop Leads to Trafficking Arrest after FL Keys Deputy finds 314 grams of Cocaine Hidden in Cookie Monster Doll ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Meet 39 y/o Camus Lorenzo McNair of Key West, FL.  That's his mug shot below...

McNair was arrested on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 for trafficking in cocaine after the car that he was driving was stopped for having an obscured license plate.  (F.S. 320.061 makes it unlawful, and therefore a legitimate traffic stop, to alter, in any way, your State issued license plate.)   By way of example, in the picture below, and even though license plate frames are considered to be "external" to the plate itself, if the frame obstructs the license plate in a way that prevents the face of the plate from being “clear and distinct” then it violates F.S. 320.061.

Anyhow, when McNair's driver window rolled down Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Orey Swilley states that the smell of marijuana was obvious, thus allegedly proving probable cause for a vehicle search.  

Memo to the Folks:  All things equal, a stop for a traffic infraction (like speeding or an equipment violation) can last only as long as is reasonably necessary for the officer to accomplish the purpose of the stop, meaning that they can run your tag, your DL and the vehicle registration, and they can check for compliance with the requirement that you carry proof of insurance, and then they can write you a ticket, but once all of that is done the lawful detention ends, and if the cops don’t let you promptly go about your business then you may have been unlawfully detained.  But, if, during the course of the detention the officer develops a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being or is about to be committed (like if you were having a clam bake and s/he smells the odor of marijuana emanating from your car) then, you can be further detained, and in the event that the officer has a reasonable and articulable suspicion that drugs are involved then you can be detained until a K-9 arrives (or, as in McNair's case, the cop can take his chances by ordering you out and conducting his own warrantless search). You can watch HaberPA's VideoFAQ / YouTube Webisode on "How long can a Cop keep me on the roadside?" by clicking on the video link below or by clicking here...

Anyhow, back to the story at hand... So during Deputy Swilley's search of the car he discovered a backpack, which he opened, and inside he found a "Cookie Monster doll" which he proceeded to remove from the backpack.

When Deputy Swilley picked up the doll he reportedly believed it to be heavier than expected.  Closer inspection allegedly revealed "a slit cut into the blue Sesame Street doll", and further probing resulted in the retrieval of 2 baggies with a cumulative weight of 314 grams of cocaine that were hidden inside.  

The Monroe County Sheriff's Department would take to Facebook posting the pic above with the caption "Cocaine Hidden in "Cookie Monster"".

Another Memo to the Folks:  The general 4th Amendment rule is that law enforcement needs a warrant to conduct a search, but there are many exceptions to the "warrant requirement".  The best practice (for the cops) is almost always to get a warrant, and, when they don't, then they run a risk that the fruits of their search will be  both declared "poisonous" and suppressed from introduction into evidence (this is called the "exclusionary rule").  If a vehicle search is conducted and containers are found inside of the vehicle (like, for example, a backpack), again, absent an exception to the warrant requirement, the cops cannot open the container without first obtaining a warrant.  So, if I were McNair's lawyer, then this would be my first area of attack in this case.  You can watch HaberPA's VideoFAQ / YouTube Webisode on "What is the Exclusionary Rule and how can the Cops sidestep it?" by clicking on the video link below or by clicking here...

Memo to Camus Lorenzo McNair (and Drug Dealers / Courriers in general):  Not that I am promoting your endeavors (to the contrary, I encourage you not to deal, traffic or move controlled substances and instead to find a legal and productive niche in society...), but, if you are Hell-bent on moving dope then make sure that you don't get popped for something stupid, like an avoidable traffic infraction. 

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. the goals in representing folks are A) to be honest and realistic about litigation objectives; B) to be fair in regard to fees; C) to be consistently available and responsive to the client (in person, by phone call, text, email, Facebook. Twitter and otherwise); D) to keep the client informed; and E) to secure your positive feedback / client review at the conclusion of each case.

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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