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Missouri police stop instructive on several counts

Facially, the news headline and a quick read of the related story seem to simply tell the tale of an eminently careless motorist in Missouri who gave police officers ample reason to stop him. What followed thereafter seems to have been an almost preordained ordering of events that led to a major drug discovery and bust.

That seizure and arrest occurred last Wednesday night on I-70 near the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. Reportedly, police officers flagged down a driver for two alleged infractions, namely, changing lanes without signaling and failure to stop at a red light.

That cited wrongdoing will always be closely noted by proven defense attorneys. Enforcement officials seeking to come into close contact with an individual for investigatory purposes must first have at least a reasonable suspicion of ongoing or just-committed criminal activity. That so-called "probable cause" is what lawfully permits officers to detain and, in some instances, interact further with an individual.

In the reported story, the motorist consented to a search of his vehicle. There is no further information in the media report regarding that, and it is simply noted here that experienced defense counsel might examine the details surrounding that consent.

The officers stated that drugs hidden away in the overhead hatch of the driver's SUV exerted so much pressure on the rear door that it wouldn't stay up. While investigating that, the police found multiple wrapped bundles of methamphetamine totaling 34 pounds.

The driver faces a very serious federal felony count. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He will certainly require legal assistance of defense counsel well-versed in federal criminal law, which can be harsh and notably complex when compared with state law.

Notably, the matter involved the joint efforts of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the St. Charles County Police Department. That type of combined probe is quite common in trafficking cases and other drug investigations, and underscores the money and resources that can be readily brought to bear by government task forces.

Individuals arrested and facing charges in drug cases face strong challenges from criminal investigators and prosecutors. A seasoned criminal defense team can provide them with the diligent legal representation they need.

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