The Illinois State Police says that an inopportune bathroom break in Champaign County on the afternoon of May 17 led to drug possession charges for two men. The 26-year-old and 27-year-old Tennessee residents were charged with marijuana possession and marijuana possession with the intent to distribute after about 5 pounds of the drug were allegedly recovered from their vehicle. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
An off-duty ISP deputy claims that he became curious when he noticed a Dodge Charger sedan that had been left unattended in the middle of County Road 300 East in the vicinity of Seymour at about 2:00 p.m. The deputy says that his suspicions were aroused when he noticed empty alcohol containers scattered on the ground beside the car and a man urinating in a nearby field. During an ensuing conversation with the two men, the deputy says that he detected the odor of burnt cannabis emanating from their vehicle.
One of the men is then said to have removed about two grams of marijuana from the vehicle’s glove box, but reports suggest that a further two suitcases of the drug were recovered from the vehicle’s trunk when a uniformed officer arrived to conduct a search. The men are said to have initially claimed that they knew nothing about the drugs, but one of them allegedly admitted later that the marijuana was his.
The U.S. Constitution requires police officers to obtain search warrants before searching vehicles unless clear probable cause can be established. In many cases, suspects facing drug charges agree to searches because they believe that cooperating with police is in their best interests. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may dispel these notions and advise their clients not to consent to a search and to make no statements to police unless counsel is present.