Woman ‘caught’ . . . doing nothing illegal (aside from tailgating)

From Texas, we hear of a woman pulled over for tailgating. The Sheriff’s Office corporal who pulled her over apparently found her behavior suspicious, and decided to have his drug sniffing police dog partner check her vehicle.

Right away, the dog found . . . no drugs.

The woman was shaking and started telling Kirkpatrick a story that didn’t make sense, he said. The woman wouldn’t let Kirkpatrick search her car, so he got the help of his partner Rocky, a 4-year-old Belgian malinois police dog.

Rocky smelled something near the back door of the SUV, O’Connor said. When Kirkpatrick looked inside, he found duffel bags filled with parts of AR-15s, 200 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition, 40 magazines and a bullet-proof vest that can stop assault-rifle bullets.

Rocky isn’t trained to sniff for weapons, Kirkpatrick said, so the guns were likely covered with residue from drugs. No drugs were found in the vehicle.

Of course, if people are to be held responsible for anything they might be transporting that has “drug residue” on it, we had all better stop carrying cash in denominations larger than $10 bills (and I’m not sure that would be small enough to avoid the danger of being inadvertently caught with “drug residue”).

There’s not an outright ban on anything found inside the car, [Victoria County Sheriff Michael T.] O’Connor said. Deputies questioned the woman, but she wasn’t arrested. Her name was not released because she’s being investigated.

Not an “outright ban,” and presumably, not a “conditional ban,” either. In other words, there is no evidence that she was committing any crime more serious than tailgating.

The wise sheriff has other thoughts, though.

Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor suspects the assortment of rifle parts and ammunition was headed to Mexico and could be used by drug cartels, he said.

“I don’t regard this as a hunting trip,” O’Connor said as he stood behind three tables loaded with guns and ammo Monday afternoon. “We felt that this was a significant find.”

However the Sheriff “regards” what the woman was doing, there is exactly ZERO legal requirement for hunting to have had anything to do with it, and however the Sheriff’s department “felt” about the find, if there’s no evidence of a crime having been committed, they have no legitimate authority to detain either the woman or her property.

I’m not saying that the Sheriff is necessarily wrong in his theory about what the woman was up to, but are we “innocent until proven guilty,” or not?

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