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Police Use Drug Courier Profiling in War Against Drugs

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A drug courier profile is not per se unreasonable

Police : a police officer standing in the night during a patrol shift.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Drug Defense Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

Drug courier profiles present special problems for the courts. A drug courier profile is not per se unreasonable, but the officer must still observe unusual and suspicious conduct on the part of the individual seized which leads the officer reasonably to conclude that criminal activity may be afoot.

The danger inherent in defining reasonable suspicion in the context of a drug courier profile is that the police officer's suspicion is not aroused by personal observation of an individual whose behavior sets him apart from other travellers. As a result, a drug courier profile should serve only as a starting point, and not as a substitute for independent observation of an individual's behavior.

For example

When an investigative detention was based on the agent's reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot, and the search of the defendant's bag occurred during the course of the investigative detention, the court properly refused to suppress the evidence seized.

When police assert that their initial suspicion of a person is based on a certain drug courier profile, they must introduce the complete and proven profile if they wish to rely on it to justify an investigatory stop.

If you've been stopped and arrested by police because you believe that you fit a certain 'profile', it's important to speak to counsel immediately to discuss the possibility that your rights were violated.  The evidence discovered may be suppressed.  You may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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