United States v. Green, No. 17-1576 (3d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Pennsylvania State Trooper Volk, a drug interdiction officer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, stopped Green, who had multiple prior arrests for drug and weapon offenses. Green allowed Volk to search his vehicle. Volk did not discover any contraband but detected the smell of raw marijuana in the trunk. The following day, Volk noticed Green’s vehicle heading the opposite direction, followed, and ascertained his speed by “pacing” Green’s vehicle. Volk determined that Green was traveling 79 miles per hour and pulled him over. Volk struck up a lengthy conversation with Green. Volk indicated that Green was free to leave but again asked to search Green’s vehicle. Green declined, explaining that he was in a hurry. Volk instructed Green to wait in his car until further notice. After approximately 15 minutes, a canine unit arrived and alerted for drugs in the trunk. Volk obtained a search warrant a few hours later. A search of Green’s trunk revealed roughly 1,000 bricks of heroin weighing nearly 20 pounds. Green pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment. The Third Circuit affirmed. Volk had a reasonable suspicion that Green was speeding, so the stop was justified. Given Green’s statements about his travel, the smell of marijuana in his trunk, and his criminal history, Volk had a “particularized and objective” basis for suspecting that Green was engaged in criminal activity.