Oregon v. BarnthouseAnnotate this Case
In 2012, an inter-agency drug interdiction team (comprised of U.S. Postal Service inspectors and local law enforcement) was deployed to examine packages at a USPS air cargo center near Portland International Airport. An officer noticed an Express Mail package addressed to "Maxi-pad Barnt" and addressed with defendant Max Barnthouse's Portland address. Aspects about the package and how it was addressed lead the officer to believe the package contained contraband. Officers went to Barnthouse's residence, and upon opening the package, found a stack of currency wrapped in a t-shirt. Subsequent search of the residence would reveal Barnthouse had large quantities of marijuana, packing materials, boxes and wrappers designed to hold bundles of money. Defendant was ultimately arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and intent to deliver. At issue in this case was whether the officer who initially handled the package violated Barnthouse's constitutional rights when it singled out the Express Mail package with the wrapped bundle of money in it. The trial court granted Barnthouse's motion to suppress, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. After review, the Supreme Court agreed the officers lacked probable cause to seize the package, and affirmed the appellate and trial courts.