Search and seizure: Brief investigatory detention based on inconsistent statements by passenger is lawful

Police seized a motorist for speeding.  During the ticketing, the driver and passenger separately told the officer different things about their travels within 9 minutes of the stop.  This was short enough for the officer to call in a drug dog 13 minutes after the stop to alert the officer to the presence of drugs in the trunk 3 minutes later. (There were other clues of criminal activity — nervousness, two people but four phones, and modification of original statement of travel history).

Rule of law:  Conflicting stories, plus a brief detention of less than 30 minutes, equals a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity sufficient to support an investigatory detention.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s denial of the defendant’s Motion to Suppress the 830.6 grams of cocaine found in the trunk.

The case was United States v. Terrence Vaughan, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24591 (November 29, 2012).