New York State Police on Feb. 20 arrested two Broome County residents who were found in a parked car that police allege contained a number of drugs and paraphernalia. The car was parked suspiciously in a lot in Johnson City, according to a state police spokesperson. A trooper stopped to investigate the parked vehicle, which led to numerous drug charges against the man and woman found in the vehicle.
The details of how the police were authorized to search the occupants or to make a full search of the car is not reported at this time. In any event, police claim that they found heroin, either on the suspects or in their car. They say that a "subsequent search" of the two, including also the car, resulted in seizing 36 wax envelopes of heroin, about 2.5 grams of meth and various items claimed to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine.
As is always the case when drugs are found in a car or on the occupants of the vehicle, the police must justify their authority to make those kinds of searches. In some cases, police will indicate seeing contraband in plain view sitting on a car seat or a floor, which authorizes the seizure of the drugs and a full search of the car. Although a frisk of the occupants may be allowed where they are found under suspicious circumstances, a more thorough search of their persons or a search of the car is not allowed unless there is probable cause to do so.
The results of the foregoing legal issues will not be resolved until the defendants each consult with their own New York criminal defense counsel. It's possible that, under the circumstances, counsel for each occupant will file a motion to suppress the evidence based on constitutional limitations in searching both the persons of the suspects and their car. The facts are not well fleshed out at this point, and the final outcome of these drug charges will depend on the additional facts that are found and evaluated.
Source: pressconnects. com, "2 arrested for meth, heroin in JC", John Harris, Feb. 20, 2015