Drug War

Judge: Cops Can't Extend a Traffic Stop If a Drug Dog Detects Nothing

No fishing

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If a drug dog fails to indicate during a traffic stop, the stop must come to an end, a federal court ruled last week. US District Judge Dale A. Kimball threw out the evidence against Apolonio Rodriguez and Bernardo Herrada after they successfully argued Logan City, Utah police officers impermissibly extended a traffic stop when they had no solid evidence that they had committed a crime.

On September 21, 2012, Officer Shand Nazer and Officer-in-Training Shawn Oliverson pulled over the Chevy Astron van of Rodriguez and Herrada. A drug task force member had attached a GPS tracking device that recorded the van driving from Utah to a city in California known for being a source of drugs. The van then returned to Utah. During a previous traffic stop, a drug dog had indicated drugs were present in the van, but a search turned up nothing illegal. A drug task force member asked Officer Nazer to stop the van as it came into the city.