View Full Version : Drug Patrol Disguised As Immigration Agents to break the 4th

05-22-2015, 12:13 PM
A Young Woman's Shocking Encounter With Drug Warriors Disguised As Immigration Agents

Police may not extend a traffic stop to facilitate a canine inspection in the absence of “reasonable suspicion”

"If you want to know how Jessica Cooke ended up on her back, screaming in pain as the barbs from a stun gun delivered incapacitating electricity into her body, there are several possible answers. You could say this indignity was caused by her own stubbornness, her refusal to comply with the seemingly arbitrary dictates of a Border Patrol agent who was detaining her for no apparent reason at an internal immigration checkpoint in upstate New York. Or you could blame the agent’s insistence on obeisance to his authority, which led him to assault an unarmed 21-year-old woman who posed no threat to anyone. But the ultimate responsibility lies with the Supreme Court, which has invited this sort of confrontation by carving out a disturbing and dangerous exception to the Fourth Amendment."

....He has been empowered to stop cars at will, supposedly to enforce the immigration laws in the general vicinity of the border. But while he’s at it, he is also enforcing the drug laws. “It’s an immigration checkpoint,” SUNY Buffalo law professor Rick Su noted (http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/28333/20150512/roadside-checkpoints-raise-thorny-questions) in an interview with the local NPR station. “It really should be relatively nonintrusive. Ask questions about identification, about residency, and, as long as they are satisfied that there is no reasonable suspicion that there is an immigration violation, most people should be waved through. It should be a relatively quick check.”

Except when, for whatever reason, an agent suspects a driver may have drugs in the car. As Su observed, Cooke’s experience shows how CBP is “starting to use these checkpoints beyond their intended goal.” This additional function of so-called immigration checkpoints is especially troubling in light of a 2000 decision in which the Supreme Court rejected drug interdiction as a rationale for randomly stopping cars. In City of Indianapolis v. Edmond (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=99-1030), the Court said that city’s police violated the Fourth Amendment when they set up checkpoints aimed at catching drug traffickers. “We have never approved a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing,” the Court said. “Because the primary purpose of the Indianapolis narcotics checkpoint program is to uncover evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing, the program contravenes the Fourth Amendment.”

But as long CBP says its main goal is intercepting illegal aliens rather than drugs, it can do essentially the same thing that the Court deemed unconstitutional in Indianapolis. CBP says (http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/11/20/border-patrol-aclu-lawsuit-arivaca-checkpoint-harassment/70021978/) “checkpoints deny major travel routes from the borders to smugglers intent on delivering people, drugs and other contraband to the interior of the United States and allow the Border Patrol to establish an important second layer of defense.” Judging from the checkpoints’ track record, finding drugs is, if anything, their main function, while immigration control is a secondary concern. In fiscal year 2013, The New York Times reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/us/border-patrol-scrutiny-stirs-anger-in-arizona-town.html), the checkpoints accounted for 14 percent of marijuana seized near the borders with Mexico and Canada but only 2 percent of unauthorized immigrants apprehended.
The reach of this drug dragnet is vast. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/constitution-100-mile-border-zone), the Border Patrol “operates approximately 170 interior checkpoints throughout the country.” Under current regulations, those checkpoints can be located anywhere within 100 miles of an “external boundary”—a zone that includes about two-thirds of the U.S. population.....