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A new defense to miami cocaine trafficking cases

Posted on August 21, 2009 3:00 AM EST

In Miami, Florida, cocaine trafficking and cocaine sale arrests are made on a daily basis. Once an individual has been arrested for cocaine trafficking, he or she must then hire a Miami criminal lawyer to defend the case. Up until recently, the most common defenses in cocaine trafficking and cocaine sale cases has been to file a motion to suppress evidence impounded by law enforcement authorities obtained through illegal searches and seizures. Many arrests stem from narcotics dogs that alert on automobiles or boats. Until now, whenever a narcotics K-9 is alerted to a car or boat, the law in the State of Florida deemed it probable cause to search the entire contents of either mode of transportation. Many arrests stem from this type of probable cause search.

Although it may take a while for the law to change, Miami criminal defense lawyers now have another trick up their sleeves. Thanks to a recent study conducted by Dr. Yuegang Zuoand other scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, they have determined that between 85% and 90% of all U.S. paper currency contained alarming traces of cocaine in certain geographic areas. Of the cities tested, the paper money in Baltimore, Boston and Detroit had the highest percentage of contamination. Imagine if the scientists had tested the money in Miami, Florida, well-known as the cocaine capital of the United States.

Scientists presented the results at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The scientists tested bank notes from more than 30 cities in five countries including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China and Japan. Part of the study found that the percentage of cocaine on U.S. currency had risen more than 20% over the past two years. Dr. Zuo commented that, "To my surprise, we're finding more and more cocaine on bank notes." Dr. Zuo, thought this phenomena could be due to the economic downturn which may be causing people to turn to cocaine as a method of escape.

Dr. Zuo explained that currency generally becomes tainted with cocaine when a user snorts the white powder through a rolled up note, or by handling a note with cocaine powder on his or her hands. From there the chemical compounds of the cocaine begin to transfer to clean bills in wallets, pockets and even in currency counting machines. Ultimately, cocaine is transferred to currency throughout the United States and the world. According to Dr. Zuo, the amount of cocaine on the currency will not get a person holding the bill high. "It also won't affect your health and is unlikely interfere with blood and urine tests used for drug detection." The study revealed that cocaine levels on the currency ranged from .006 micrograms to 1,240 micrograms. This would be equal to fifty (50) grains of sand. According to Dr. Zuo, you would need 800 of the most contaminated bills to extract a gram of cocaine.

This latest study may cause the courts in the United States to alter their view of the current state of law regarding probable cause searches established by narcotics dogs alerting to vehicles and containers. Only time will tell, but the study may be able to assist a Miami defense attorney in defending a cocaine trafficking or cocaine sale case.

90% of U.S. Bills Carry Traces of Cocaine, CNNhealth.com, August 17, 2009.
Categories: Drug Offenses