Oklahoma judge throws out evidence in meth trafficking case due to constitutionality
DUNCAN, Okla. – Evidence in a meth trafficking case has been thrown out after an Oklahoma judge ruled its acquisition by the state as unconstitutional, the Duncan Banner reports.
In July 2015, officers were serving an arrest warrant for Juan Carlos Guerra, 39, on drug charges when they noticed an advanced surveillance system outside of Guerra’s home.
On Friday, officers testified that the surveillance system caused them to become worried about their safety.
After taking Guerra into custody, officers went inside the home to do a protective sweep, the Duncan Banner reports.
During the sweep, officers found more than a pound of methamphetamine floating inside a toilet bowl.
During a motion hearing Friday, Stephens County District Jude Ken Graham ruled that the search that led to the discovery of the drugs while serving an arrest warrant were not in par with the Constitution and decided to throw out the evidence.
“There’s no question in this court’s mind that this guy is a trafficker based on what I have seen,” Graham said. “We can all agree that the police were not invited inside the home and that they went in based upon what they considered a protective sweep. I’m having a hard time with him being in the front door in handcuffs and being the only suspect in the arrest warrant and you going inside the house. A house is a person’s (castle) whether he’s a drug trafficker or not.”
Although prosecutors argued the officers had “more than enough” reason to search the home, the judge ultimately decided the evidence should be thrown out.
“Based upon this I’m going to try to follow the law and I think it was a bad search. I’m going to suppress the evidence,” Graham said.
According to the Duncan Banner, the drugs were to be used during an April 18th meth trafficking trial.
The District Attorney’s Office plans to appeal the decision.
Guerra faces charges of aggravated trafficking, tampering with a security camera or system and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.
He is scheduled for a jury trial April 18th.