Santa Rosa Police Seize 135 Pounds Of Marijuana And AK-47, One Man Arrested
Earlier last month in Santa Rosa, police got word that the residents of an aging commercial facility that had been converted into three mechanic’s bays were acting hostile towards a city inspector present to issue a cease-work order. The facility is located at 1905 Sebastopol Road. According to a report by the Press Democrat, when police arrived, they were met by several people, many of whom hid in various places throughout the facility.
Police ordered everyone out, and many refused at first. However, eventually more police showed up on the scene and those who were hiding complied with police directives. Soon after, police entered the facility and saw what they claimed to be large amounts of packaged marijuana. Police then secured a search warrant for the facility.
Upon executing the search warrant, police ended up seizing 135 pounds of marijuana, one pound of methamphetamine, an AK-47, a handgun, and $3,000 in cash. Just one 39-year-old man was arrested and charged with suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale, possession of an assault rifle, and possession of methamphetamine. The exact nature of the man’s connection to the property remains unclear.
The Warrant Requirement in the California and United States Constitutions
As the article notes, before police engaged in a full search of the premises they obtained a search warrant from a judge, permitting them to do so. While this has come to be seen as a formality in some cases, in reality the warrant requirement is a critical protection offered by both the California and United States Constitutions.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 19 of the California State Constitution protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures. This has come to mean that police officer must secure a warrant before conducting a search of a premises or a seizure of a person or item. Of course, there have been numerous exceptions allowed to the warrant requirement over the years, but the general rule remains the same: police need a warrant to conduct a search.
In order to obtain a warrant, police must provide a judge with “probable cause” that evidence of criminal activity will be discovered upon execution of the warrant. In the case described above, the officers’ direct observation of what they believed to be large amounts of pre-packages marijuana in open view was likely sufficient for the judge to issue the search warrant.
Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a California Drug Offense?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with any kind of drug offense in California, there was likely some kind of search conducted by the arresting officer. This search likely needed to be justified by the existence of probable cause. If an officer is unable to articulate what facts gave him or her probable cause, it is possible that the search was illegal and any evidence obtained due to the search is inadmissible at trial. To learn more about search and seizure law in California, contact attorney Amy Chapman to discuss your case. Attorney Chapman has years of experience defending her clients against all types of drug and weapons offenses. Call (707) 636-3207 today to set up your free initial consultation.