Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Charges

Minor traffic stops, such as failing to signal turn or failing to obey a “Yield” sign, can quickly lead to more serious charges if the driver has been careless with handling illegal goods, such as drugs. The Utah Highway Patrol provided a striking example of this phenomenon when it stopped a motorist for failing to properly signal a turn.

The Incident

Utah Patrol officers stopped a driver on I-15 because he failed to signal his turn for two consecutive seconds. When the officer walked up to the suspect’s vehicle, he became suspicious, although the basis for his suspicions has not been disclosed. The officer decided to let his service dog sniff the vehicle without entering the vehicle or opening any doors or the trunk. The dog’s reaction told the officer that the vehicle contained illegal drugs.

The officer made a further inspection of the stopped vehicle and found a pipe with methamphetamine residue in it in the center console. The officer also found 19 one-pound bags of meth in the trunk of the vehicle and another six packages in the man’s backpack.

The man was arrested and arraigned in federal court. The court issued an indictment allowing authorities to retain the man.

Background Check Leads to More Charges

The suspect is a resident of Colorado Springs, and his prior criminal record showed many occasions of criminal activity. He has been charged in Colorado’s fifth district court with possessing drugs with intent to distribute. This charge was dismissed when the federal judge issued the indictment.

Looking Ahead

The defendant in this case is facing serious federal criminal charges. A conviction could mean an extended period of incarceration, along with a sizeable fine. Anyone facing similar charges will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an evaluation of the prosecution’s evidence and an opinion on the likelihood of conviction. If appropriate, an experienced attorney can help negotiate an appropriate plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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