Texas Traffic Stops Can Lead to Federal Drug Charges

Texas Traffic Stops Can Lead to Federal Drug Charges

Traffic Stops to Federal Drug Charges

So-called “routine traffic stops” are often cited in offense reports in criminal cases in Texas where the case allegedly begins a minor traffic violation, progresses to a search and ends up with a seizure. Law enforcement agencies all across the country use traffic stops to look for evidence of other offenses, including drug trafficking. A case that starts out as a traffic citation can quickly evolve into a district court case in state court or even a federal indictment.

Example – Lefkin, TX

An example of a traffic court case leading to a much more serious charge is a recent case where law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on U.S. 59 back in October 2013. It is not clear from the media what the alleged traffic violations were. Department of Public Safety officials stopped a woman on alleged traffic infractions. During the course of the investigatory stop, the trooper arrested a 31-year-old Lufkin, Texas, woman on suspicion of driving without a valid license. Even though the accused was arrested for a very minor charge, the arrest allowed for a search of the vehicle. In this case, the trooper claims that a plastic bag containing what appeared to be methamphetamine was visible in the car.

This stop and resulting arrest is a fairly typical example of how these cases are made. A good attorney will investigate carefully the underlying details to fight the case. A not-so-good attorney will assume what the report says is true and contains all the details. Reports in cases like these are very rarely the complete story. It is very likely that in this case, officers knew they were going to find meth in the car before they stopped it. To learn whether law enforcement followed the law, attorneys need to dig.

Example – Pollock, TX

A 32-year-old man from Pollok, Texas, who was in the passenger seat, was taken into custody on suspicion of drug charges. Investigators rummaged through the vehicle and claim to have found counterfeit money and slightly more than 54 grams of methamphetamine. The two Texas residents were indicted in federal court in April on drug charges related to the evidence seized in the traffic stop.

The male pleaded guilty in federal court this week and could face up to 40 years in prison at sentencing. The woman also had a plea hearing scheduled for this week. It is not clear if either of the accused entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Federal Drug Charges

Despite public debates over drug policy in the United States, Federal prosecutors continue to pursue drug crimes with vigor. Federal drug possession, drug trafficking, and other associated crimes (such as conspiracy to distribute drugs) carry significant penalties if a person is ultimately convicted of a federal offense. It’s important for someone suspected of a drug crime in Texas to consider seeking representation as soon as allegations arise.

Source: KTRE, “1 of 2 people arrested in Angelina Co. meth bust pleads guilty to federal drug charge,” Gary Bass, June 16, 2014