Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 8, 2013

How long before ‘drug rigs’ show up on our streets?

Bear rigs are a common sight in many rural areas of West Virginia. A bear rig is a pickup truck with a box on the back with individual compartments for hauling bear dogs.

Many have a platform on top of the box where the strike dog can be tied.

A strike dog is a hound with a especially good nose. That is, it can smell a bear at greater distances then other dogs may be able to.

In addition it has been specially trained to bark only when it smells a bear and will trail only bear.

In use the strike dogs leash is fastened to the platform and the truck is driven slowly along the roads through the hunting area. When the strike dog winds, that is smells a bear, it “alerts” the driver by barking. The hunter stops, releases the dogs and the chase is on.

I thought of bear rigs the other day when I saw that two of the cases the Supreme Court of the United States were going to hear this term involved the use of drug dogs.

One case involves Franky, a Labrador retriever whose alert to the front door of a Dade County, Florida house was the basis for a search warrant that led to Joelis Jardines’ 2006 arrest for growing marijuana.

In this case, the Miami-Dade police received an anonymous, unverified tip that Jardines’ home was being used to grow marijuana.

They waited almost a month to act. Then since they had no evidence for a search warrant they, backed by agents of the DEA, staked out the home at 7 a.m.

Despite seeing no suspicious activity, in fact no activity at all, they had a dog handler with a drug detection dog on a leash go up to the front door of the man’s home.

A detective was told the dog had “alerted” to the presence contraband. He then went up to the door and said he smelled marijuana. The detective then applied for and received a search warrant.

A search was conducted and marijuana was found growing in the house. Jardine was arrested, tried and convicted.

He appealed his conviction claiming violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. That is the right not to have his home searched without probable cause and that the police did not have probable cause until the dog was brought to his door.

His conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court. The state of Florida is now appealing this decision.

If the Supreme Court finds in favor of the state I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing “drug rigs” cruising our streets? Followed by “gun rigs.” I’m sure Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg would want those. Heck, Bloomberg would probably want “oversize drink rigs.”

I guess there could be a bright side to losing our right not to have our homes searched without probable cause. It might help the economy, General Motors could make the drug rigs, and Ford the gun rigs.

Of course unlike the bear rigs, that are paid for by the hunters themselves, these rigs would be paid for by the taxpayers, probably from Homeland Security funds. Those funds have been used for things just as silly.

Jay Simmons

Moorefield, W.Va.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • If we don’t sell it to them, somebody else will

    The front page article on coal exports by AP writer Dina Cappiello is one of the most asinine and biased “news” articles I’ve read (“Not in my backyard: U.S. sending dirty coal abroad,” July 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 30, 2014

  • Research cost of watershed plan before implementing it

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Prayers in the Park’ event slated Aug. 18 in Johnstown

    July 30, 2014

  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO

    At a recent county commissioner meeting, members of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, Maryland Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. and Pastor Alfred Deas of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Cumberland attended to request from the commissioners $5 dollars of marriage license money be permanently allocated to the CHCO (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 29, 2014

  • No public funding for extremist organization

    Once again, the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization has asked the Allegany County commissioners for public funding (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 29, 2014

  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why are fair officials targeting firefighters?

    The Allegany County Fair has been known for its Demolition Derby for a long time. Several years back the operation of the derby was awarded to the local Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department.

    July 28, 2014

  • Here’s a time when W.Va. law took precedence over Md. law

     There may be an applicable precedent concerning any assumption that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority (PHAA) can choose to ignore West Virginia territorial state laws.

    July 28, 2014

  • Citizens don’t want Terrapin Run; remove it from the plan

    July 28, 2014