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K-9 unit discovers drugs during traffic stop

A 38-year-old California man was taken into custody on narcotics charges on the night of Jan. 19 after methamphetamine and cocaine were allegedly found in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Santa Barbara County. Police say the seized drugs would be worth about $2,300 if sold on the street. The man has been charged with possessing drugs with the intent to distribute, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. He is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail, and his bail has been set at $250,000.

The man's BMW sedan was stopped by police at approximately 9:30 p.m. near the intersection of Knudson Way and South Western Avenue in Santa Maria. Officers say that they observed the vehicle exceed the posted speed limit on Donovan Road and ignore a red light at the intersection of Cook Street and South Blosser Road. The man was taken into custody at the scene after officers determined that he was impaired by alcohol and a records check revealed that he had an outstanding warrant.

A preliminary search of the vehicle is said to have yielded an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine and approximately $1,000 in U.S. currency. A K-9 unit was then summoned to the scene and a more rigorous search was conducted after the dog alerted to the presence of drugs. During this search, police allegedly found approximately 80 grams of cocaine and methamphetamine in 135 plastic bags.

When drugs are found during a traffic stop and a police dog is involved, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study the sequence of events carefully. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement cannot delay traffic stops just to give K9 units time to reach the scene. When police reports do not reveal sufficient probable cause for a delay and search, attorneys may seek to have drug charges dismissed.

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