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In the usual case, both the seizure and the search must be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment in order for the evidence to be admissible. The U.S. Supreme Court and federal appeals courts have considered both issues when officers have used K-9s to detect contraband.
A storm-water channel connecting the higher-elevation Nogales, Sonora, brings runoff into Nogales, Ariz., and can also deliver illegal immigrants willing to risk drowning when the waters rise.
Earlier this year, a regional SWAT team led by deputies with the Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office took POLICE Magazine into the Vekol Valley in the Arizona desert to show one way smugglers bring narcotics across the U.S.-Mexico border. Smugglers often use illegal immigrants as drug mules to carry 25-pound marijuana bundles using makeshift "backpacks" of rope and cut strips of Mexican blankets to lessen discomfort. Listen to our podcast, "Tracking Smugglers in Southern Arizona," with Pinal County Sheriff's Sgt. Matt Thomas. Photos by Paul Clinton.
Street gangs have become very adept at creating convincing false documents that can pass an officer's cursory inspection. Advanced computers, scanners, and color printers make detection more challenging, and traffickers often use fake birth certificates and other forgeries to obtain authentic state-issued documents. Biometric methods such as fingerprinting, retinal scans and DNA are a much more reliable way to identify suspicious people. Photos courtesy of Richard Valdemar.