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Tennessee traffic stop leads to felony drug charges

A routine traffic stop on the afternoon of Sept. 2 led to the discovery of large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin and felony drug charges for a 27-year-old Tennessee man. The Maryville resident faces felony charges of drug possession with the intent to deliver, and reports indicate that more severe penalties could be applied because the traffic stop took place in a school zone.

According to a Blount County Sheriff's Office report, the sequence of events began when deputies pulled over a Chevrolet SUV near the intersection of Roddy Branch Road and Old Knoxville Highway in Rockford at approximately 1:00 p.m. after observing it commit an undescribed traffic violation. Reports do not reveal what led deputies to suspect that the vehicle contained evidence of ongoing criminal activity, but they do indicate that a drug-sniffing police dog and members of the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force were summoned to the scene.

The ensuing search of the SUV allegedly led to the seizure of about $1,700 in cash and quantities of heroin and methamphetamine significant enough to warrant felony charges. A female passenger in the SUV was also taken into custody after task force members found drug paraphernalia in her possession.

Cases involving serious drug charges often hinge on the legality of warrantless searches, and criminal defense attorneys may seek to have the charges dismissed when presented with facts like these. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prolonging traffic stops unreasonably to allow K9 units to be called to the scene violates rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Source: The Citizen Tribune, "Maryville man charged with several felony drug offenses", Staff report, Sept. 3, 2018

Source: The Supreme Court of the United States, "Rodriguez v. United States", accessed on Sept. 12, 2018

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