Illegal ruse notices and subsequent entrapment at exits has been found to be a clear fourth amendment violation, according to a lawsuit filed by three drivers.
There’s a new drug corridor in Kansas, part of a “narcotics pipeline” that law enforcement in the state has identified and enforces today using an illegal drug-stop ruse.
Here, along the I-70 east-west highway that cuts right through the center of the state, law enforcement has devised an illegal search method targeting out of state drivers, ramping up its efforts since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014.
The number of Kansas troopers is increasing. The Kansas Highway Patrol 2015 annual report shows the patrol’s recruitment class of 2015 was one of the largest in years, and a new pay plan was authorized. And the patrol’s Domestic Highway Enforcement Team has identified marijuana as the most common drug being trafficked through the state, awarding officers who seize the most during a year as a “KHP top producer.”
The Fresh Toast witnessed the illegal ruse being used by the Kansas Highway Patrol along I-70, outside of Junction City, home of Fort Riley. There, on the right shoulder of the highway, is a large flashing electronic roadside notice: “Drug Check Ahead —Drug Dogs in Use”.
Some drivers naturally see that notice as an impediment to their travel and take the nearest exit to avoid it, as described in one case involving these sort of drug stops used not only in Kansas, but other states as well.
The trick? At the nearby exit, the real drug stop is set up. If you pull off the highway, you just committed a big probable cause action and, boom, guilty until proven innocent.
That illegal ruse notice, and the entrapment at the exit, has been found to be a clear fourth amendment violation, according to a lawsuit filed by two native Americans in one car, and one black man in his car, all with out of state plates going about their business traveling on I-70 when they were pulled over for minor infractions.
According to the lawsuit, after the infraction issue was completed, the drivers were illegally detained using a technique taught to the KHP troopers to re-engage the driver and question them about their travel plans, looking for any reason to search their car.
The three drivers in the lawsuit were forced to submit to searches, and forced to wait for nearly an hour for drug dogs to search their cars. One driver was forced to follow the trooper to a county holding area to review some of his paperwork before being released.
In both instances, nothing was found.
The lawsuit further determined that 93 percent of the KHP stops in 2017 were for out of state plates.
A 2016 case involving a similar illegal search of a car coming into Kansas from Colorado, “a known drug corridor”, occurred in 2017 with the court finding that the detention for a drug dog violated the driver’s rights.
And a 2000 Supreme Court case on the same issue in another state found that law enforcement violated fourth amendment rights. So the law has been clear on this issue.
But that hasn’t stopped the zealous KHP. It has a history of bad actions when it comes to marijuana busts on I-70. In 2014, the Denver Post reported that a woman died in a Goodland, Kansas jail after being arrested on I-70 for marijuana she purchased in Colorado that she hoped would help her combat a series of painful autoimmune medical problems. For two days, even as she began vomiting blood, jailers didn’t believe her when she begged for her pharmaceutical medications because they tagged her as a marijuana-using druggie.