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Court Says Cops Can Go Through Your Garbage Looking For Drugs

Cops can go through your garbage looking for drugs
(Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A judge has reaffirmed that police can go through your trash looking for evidence, if given probable cause.

Although the case was ruled upon in the 8th Circuit Court Of Appeals,  it will no doubt resonate across the legal system. Russel Seidel from Mandan, North Dakota, was arrested by authorities on drug charges. He then sued and it went all the way to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, a regional version of the Supreme Court.

The Court upheld that police, with reasonable cause, had the right to go through his garbage searching for evidence. The garbage had been placed on the street for pickup. Seidel was probably not the brightest criminal; according to court documents, quite a bit was found in the trash. A later search warrant found the following in his home:

$43,675 in U.S. currency; 133.05 grams of methamphetamine (98.75% pure); 25.85 grams of cannabis; 2 LSD strips; 116 tablets of Alprazolam (Xanax); several vehicle titles; pay/owe sheets; syringes; ziploc baggies; pipes (both meth and marijuana); digital scale; tweezers; and snort tubes.

Officers had found marijuana evidence, remains of drug ledgers (used to keep track of incoming and outgoing amounts) and syringes in the garbage. So, if you’re thinking of starting up an illegal “pharmacy” you might want to toss the evidence somewhere else!

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