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Respectable Roadblock Ruse

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 22 Issue: 6 Dated: June 1998 Pages: 34-36
K Wallentine
Date Published
3 pages
An innovative and inexpensive technique that has proven successful in drug law enforcement on highways is the roadblock ruse, sometimes referred to as the "no roadblock roadblock."
Operating a roadblock ruse is relatively easy and involves placing signs along the highway indicating a roadblock is ahead. The signs can read "Narcotics Officers Ahead" or "Stop Here to Deposit Illegal Drugs and Contraband." Law-abiding drivers will pass the signs and support the antidrug efforts of police. Drug dealers may toss their illegal goods or make a sudden U-turn, and littering is a violation for which they can be stopped. Several courts have upheld traffic stops when a driver avoids an actual roadblock and commits a minor traffic violation in the process. Pretext stops are lawful, and stops for traffic violations may lead to a sniff by a trained drug detector dog. The sniff of the exterior of a vehicle lawfully detained is not a search. Detaining a vehicle beyond the time necessary to issue a citation or a warning, however, requires reasonable suspicion of illegal activity beyond the traffic violation. The author concludes the roadblock ruse is an effective drug interdiction tool. 1 photograph