A 24-year-old woman and her 36-year-old boyfriend were charged with felony counts of transporting a controlled substance on April 10 after 44 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl were allegedly found in their car during a traffic stop. The seized narcotics are said to have a street value in excess of $1.5 million. The woman is being detained at a Las Colinas detention facility, and the man has been transported to the San Diego County Jail. The bail for each defendant has been set at $750,000.
The couple was traveling in a Mitsubishi SUV that was pulled over at approximately 2:30 p.m. for exceeding the posted speed limit by deputies assigned to the Border Crime Suppression Team of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Border Patrol agents. The traffic stop took place on the westbound lanes of State Route 905. The Mitsubishi was searched thoroughly after a K9 officer allegedly alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics.
Fentanyl has developed a grim reputation in recent years. The synthetic opioid is many times more potent than heroin, and even trace amounts of it have been known to cause fatal overdoses. Authorities believe the couple planned to sell the fentanyl either directly to drug users or to dealers who would then use it to increase the potency of heroin or make counterfeit Xanax or oxycodone pills.
When their clients have been charged with serious drug crimes after illegal narcotics were discovered, criminal defense attorneys may study official reports closely to ensure that law enforcement did not violate rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. While an alert from a trained police dog may provide the probable cause needed to conduct a warrantless search, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that traffic stops may not be delayed for an unreasonable amount of time to allow K9 officers to be called to the scene.
Source: NBC Bay Area, $1.5M in Fentanyl Found in Couple’s Car in South San Diego, Monica Garske, April 14, 2019