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Drug interdiction leads to traffic citations, vehicle searches

The War on Drugs in South Carolina has led to the arrest of several defendants after a drug interdiction effort along two local thoroughfares. Officials say the interdiction efforts focused on Interstate 85 and Highway 11. During that April 3 event, seven felony arrests were made, 16 vehicles were searched, and 64 traffic citations and warnings were issued to motorists in Oconee County.

This particular interdiction effort shows the consequences that can arise for South Carolina drivers who are pulled over for even a simple traffic stop. In several cases, K-9 units were used to conduct free-air sniffs, which allowed them to identify potential illegal substances in defendants' vehicles. Narcotics agents facilitated these searches as the drivers were pulled over for simple violations. In one case, a motorist was found to be driving without proof of registration or insurance; a drug search was conducted after a needle was found in his pocket.

In that case, the driver of the vehicle did not consent to a search of his vehicle. However, the K-9 dog was able to perform a certain type of free-air sniffing process to determine that the vehicle may contain illegal substances. This method was used to implicate several people during the interdiction effort.

Motorists in South Carolina have rights when they are pulled over, even for a general traffic stop. These invasive drug interdiction efforts may result in the violation of defendants' rights, especially if the searches are not properly performed. A South Carolina attorney may be able to provide assistance to prevent defendants from legal abuse during the traffic defense process.

Authorities say that this joint interdiction effort involved the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, along with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office and the West Union Police Department. The first two groups have reportedly worked together in the past. They plan to join up for more large-scale interdiction programs in the future, according to Oconee County representatives.

Source:  WBTW, "Several facing felonies after SC drug interdiction efforts" WSPA News Staff, Apr. 07, 2014

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