Narcotics Safety Checkpoint a Success


Last week the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office set up what a local paper described as a "Narcotics Checkpoint" near Starks, Louisiana. The Beauregard Daily News reported that the checkpoint, a response to complaints about drug dealing, was a "success," resulting in three arrests for marijuana and hydrocodone possession, two misdemeanor summonses for marijuana possession, and the discovery of four ounces of pot that someone threw from a car window when he saw the cops. "The Narcotics Checkpoint's main objective was to get the narcotics off of the street," the paper reported, quoting Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Deputy Dale Sharp, who explained that "anything off of the streets is not in the hands of kids or anyone else."

Problem: While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld DUI and license-and-registration checkpoints aimed at promoting traffic safety, it has said checkpoints aimed at finding illegal drugs are unconstitutional. Solution: Pretend the drug checkpoint was not a drug checkpoint. "They're really safety checkpoints," Chief Deputy Joe Toler told The Drug War Chronicle. "There just happened to be narcotics officers out there, and it just so happened that we did our safety checkpoint in a certain area where the place is known for drug trafficking. It just so happened they were all in the right place at the right time."