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Officers discover eight pounds of meth in woman's vehicle

St. Louis residents understand that everyone has to play by the same rules. This includes police officers, who are bound by certain laws and rules of conduct that dictate how they can investigate crimes and seize evidence. In fact, when it comes to search and seizure laws, it is a matter of a person's Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, which lays out some of the most fundamental rights held by individuals against government action.

Search and seizure laws are often a key issue when it comes to drug conspiracy charges. This is because the discovery of the drugs at issue in the case can be one of, if not the, most important piece of evidence in the case.

For instance, two Missouri women were placed under arrest recently after being pulled over for speeding on the Interstate. After a search of the women's vehicle, law enforcement discovered eight ponds of meth, as well as two handguns. As a result, the women are now facing federal charges.

In cases like the above, the circumstances of how officers found the drugs can make all the difference as to whether the drug evidence is admissible in the criminal case. Typically, officers need a warrant under the Fourth Amendment before they can search and seize drugs or other contraband. However, there are exceptions to the warrant requirement that can allow officers to search and seize evidence in certain cases.

If a person gives consent to search a vehicle, for example, the officers do not need a warrant for the search. Likewise, if officers have probable cause that drugs are located in the vehicle, they may be able to search the car without a warrant.

The rules have changed when it comes to vehicle searches over the past several years, due to new cases coming down from the Supreme Court. Consequently, individuals should realize that each case is different, and the determination of whether the search was lawful in their case depends on the facts of the case and the law in effect at the time.

Source: My High Plains, "Two Missouri women face federal drug charges in Amarillo," Aaron Langston, Sept. 9, 2014

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