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Police arrest 2 females on drug charges while tracking fugitive

Texas like other states uses a system of probation that allows convicted individuals to be released early or in some cases not be incarcerated at all. They are bound to report regularly to their probation officer and to follow all the rules of the probation department. When an individual violates probation, he or she may be incarcerated for the remainder of the original probationary term or sometimes longer if it is proved that the probation violation occurred. If during the apprehension, the individual is arrested on any new allegations, such as drug charges, these must be proved in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

Recently, a man wanted on a violation of the terms of his probation for a 2015 robbery conviction was tracked to a home in Oglesby by Coryell County authorities. The police arrested the 22-year-old man after finding him at the home. When arresting the man, authorities say they detected a "small" odor of marijuana in the home.

The police used that alleged odor as probable cause to make a search of the home. They allegedly found drug paraphernalia and small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine through the assistance of the county drug dog. The drug seizure resulted in the arrest also of the two women who were with the suspect on drug possession charges.

The authorities must undergo a rigorous test of their procedures under both the Texas and federal constitutions to validate the searches and seizures that occurred. They cannot enter a home in the first place unless they have a search or arrest warrant. Assuming that they had an arrest warrant for the man on the probation violation, that would not justify a wholesale search of the house and everyone in it. Whether that wide scope of a search can be authorized due to a small odor of marijuana is an issue that defense counsel may raise in challenging the police procedures and the resulting drug charges under Texas law.

Source: kwtx.com, "Authorities arrest fugitive, 2 women, at Central Texas home", John Carroll, April 3, 2018

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