United States v. Pacheco, No. 20-1392 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs from a traffic stop and canine drug sniff. The court considered the totality of the circumstances and concluded that the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the traffic stop so that his canine could conduct a drug sniff. In this case, the incongruity between defendant's statements suggested that defendant might be lying about his travel plans, defendant gave odd answers about his travel plans, defendant appeared very nervous even though the officer had informed him he would only be receiving a warning, and the officer testified that the rental vehicle had a lived-in look, suggesting that defendant was attempting to travel without making many stops. Furthermore, the officer had probable cause to search the trunk of the vehicle.
Court Description: [Gruender, Author, with Benton and Stras, Circuit Judges] Criminal case - Criminal law. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the officer who stopped defendant for traffic offenses had reasonable suspicion to extend the traffic stop so his canine could conduct a drug sniff; the information the officer gathered after making the decision to extend the the stop, such as finding the rental car's spare tire in the back seat, elevated the reasonable suspicion to probable cause to search the trunk of the vehicle.