Since we were located on a four-lane divided highway located almost midway between seven digit cities in separate states, the highway tended to bring us a lot of business that we would have been quite happy without. Always seemed to me that once folks got away from the lights of the big cities, they decided that either what they had planned was perfectly acceptable in small towns, or that there was no chance of them getting caught.
Could have done without some of that excitement, I’m here to tell you.
In the mid-90’s or so, we got a call from a task force located way, waaaay down the highway to inform us that they had received a search warrant for a certain car. Unfortunately, they had (ahem) lost track of the car, however they had information that the car was due to drive through our county sometime that evening, and they suggested that we really, really wanted to search that car.
The Sheriff contemplated over a cup of coffee and decided that I was going to be bored that night, so I wound up running traffic on the major highway through our county.
A little after midnight, I see said described car blow through a red light in town, so I swing in behind it, verify the plate, and turn on the lights. Ten or so miles later, he pulls over and I wander up to talk to him. The Sheriff and a back-up officer arrive just after the driver signs the ticket, I ask him for permission to search the vehicle, the driver vociferously declines, the Sheriff agrees that that is his right, but mentions that a K9 unit is on the way. Things get a bit rambunctious; the driver winds up in the backseat of my cruiser in handcuffs.
The girlfriend of the driver and her cousin, both being students of the Federalist Papers, demand to know the reason for the search. We inform them that we have good reason to believe that 210 grams of crack cocaine wrapped in Cling Wrap and green ninety-mile-an-hour tape, and further sealed in a pink Ziploc bag (quart size), is located somewhere in or about the vehicle.
The girl promptly takes off running like she’s training for the Summer Felony Games, with the Sheriff in hot pursuit, while her cousin (rather professionally) prones himself out on the asphalt before the other deputy and I could blink.
This was one of the cases where even if you weren’t able to define Probable Cause, you knew it when you saw it.
Anyhoo, we’re waiting for the drug dog to show up, and I decide to search the two male subjects (pay attention, ’cause this is important), and I don’t find anything on them other than the usual pocket litter.
Being the only bit of excitement in the area, several officers from other jurisdictions show up about the same time that the K9 and his handler get there, out comes the coffee, and we have a gossip session as the K9 and his buddy go around and through the car. Wouldn’t you know it, but the K9 gives a good alert on the drivers seat of the car.
We search the car — don’t find anything. We search the car again — nothing. We tear the car apart — nada.
Finally, the Sheriff puts the girl and her cousin in the car, uncuffs the driver and walks him up to the car while delivering a stern lecture, and something just isn’t right about the driver. I’m not talking about a little warning bell going off in my mind, I’m talking a full Japanese drum, gong and bell chorus. I just have to pat him down again — and this time I hit something.
I spin the driver around, grab the suspicious object, and I yelp: “What the hell is this?”
Critter says: “Man, that’s my [graphic description].”
My brain kicked into high gear, as everything else slowed down. I remember thinking something along the lines of: “That’s a hammer and breech end of an semi-auto pistol/I missed a gun/I wonder who’ll tell Mandy/feels like an cutaway slide/I missed a GUN/that trigger happy idiot is behind me with a Mini-14/open slide – [deleted], it’s a Beretta/.25? .380? .380 – [deleted]!/he’s going for it/I’m going to get shot from both sides/why didn’t I propose to Mandy/I. Missed. A. [deleted]-ing. GUN./fall backwards, get out of the line of fire, idiot – do something!”
All this and more is going through my head, my normally closely guarded mouth is on auto-pilot, and I respond:
“That’s the hardest [graphic description] I ever felt.”
Just before the critter becomes ground zero for a pig pile.
Mind you, I don’t remember actually saying anything along those lines, however, several of my brother officers felt it was germaine enough to the case that they included it in their narratives of the incident.
To make things even better, the hidden object turned out not to be a gun, nor his [graphic description] — it was the rock of cocaine, hidden in his jockey shorts.
During the trial, the judge had to call an hour recess so that the jury could quit chortling.