Two women employed as couriers or “mules” transporting methamphetamine pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to charges of possession with intent to distribute the drug. The charges stem from a December 2019 traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Georgia’s Butts County in which a 42-year-old Georgia woman and a 23-year-old Michigan woman were arrested after authorities discovered 23 kilograms or nearly 51 pounds of methamphetamine in their vehicle.
As couriers or mules, the women were responsible for transporting the drugs across state lines. Mules represent one of many roles within a drug pipeline, essentially serving as conduits between the drug source and drug dealers. Like anyone in their situation, the two women face serious consequences that include up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. Their sentencing is slated for early March.
Was there probable cause? Is a deal possible?
In this case, a sheriff’s deputy stopped the vehicle in which the women traveled, alleging that numerous traffic violations had occurred. When the deputy smelled marijuana, the officer asked them whether there were any drugs in the car. One woman admitted so and removed some marijuana from her pants.
Having probable cause that a crime took place, the deputy conducted a vehicle search, discovering 23 packages of methamphetamine in the car’s backseat and trunk.
If you find yourself in similar circumstances, here are some strategies that you must understand:
- Probable cause is needed to stop and search a vehicle.
- A reasonable search and seizure by law enforcement remains a requirement.
- If the arresting officer did not follow the law during your arrest, you could have your case dismissed.
- If the arresting officer neglected to read your Miranda rights, you also could have your case dismissed on a technicality. Miranda rights protect people from self-incrimination and advise them of their right to hire an attorney.
- A courier represents a part of the drug pipeline. Consider cooperating with authorities in hopes of striking a deal to reduced charges. After all, authorities also seek additional and bigger drug targets – such as the drug source and drug dealers – that they want to arrest.
An arrest and conviction on drug charges can affect you for the rest of your life. It is crucial to seek a legal advocate who will work his or her best in order to get those charges reduced or dismissed.