Despite extensive efforts to conceal a cache of cocaine, two California individuals were arrested in connection with possession of illegal narcotics. Beginning with a traffic stop, law enforcement officers uncovered cocaine with a street value of over $8 million.
The case began with a joint investigation by several agencies, including a California Sheriff’s department, police from seven municipalities, one university police department, the FBI and the DEA. The arrests began with a traffic stop on a California highway. Apparently, an extensive investigation had occurred prior to the traffic stop.
Upon searching the vehicle, a number of illegal narcotics was discovered and 2 men were placed under arrest. After obtaining a search warrant, their residence was searched. Officers located a bunker, or underground compartment, constructed in the backyard of the residence. The bunker looks to have been constructed with concrete walls and the top covered with dirt or soil.
After opening the bunker, several dozen packages of cocaine were found. The total amount seized was approximately 300 lbs. If convicted, the suspects can expect a lengthy prison sentence.
The case presents an illustration of the steps law enforcement must go through to obtain a conviction in a possession case, as there are several layers of searches and seizures involved. First, the traffic stop must have been proper and for a valid reason. Second, the search of the vehicle must also have been proper. Third, the search warrant obtained for the residence must have been obtained on valid and truthful information. Finally, the search of the residence must have complied with the terms of the search warrant.
These layers of law enforcement actions are things a competent criminal defense attorney might want to scrutinize. If any of the steps taken was improperly conducted, the attorney defending the accuses may seek dismissal of the charges or other forms of relief to the defendant.
Source: $8.4M in cocaine found in bunker underneath California yard, Fox17, March 25, 2018
Source: Terry vs. Ohio, Supreme Court of the United States
Source:Fourth Amendment, Constitution of the United States
Source: California Criminal Procedure, Search Warrants California Legislature