Police in Georgia say that an anonymous tip sparked an investigation that led to the discovery of illegal drugs worth more than $50,000. According to the Valdosta Police Department, a phone call received at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 2 told officers that a vehicle parked on North Ashley Street near Rosedale Place contained a significant quantity of cocaine. The caller did not provide their name, but they did give officers a detailed description of the vehicle that included its license plate number.
Narcotics detectives alerted
The officers who received the call passed the anonymous tip to narcotics detectives who responded to the scene. They quickly located the vehicle and made contact with its owner. The decision to search the vehicle was made after a K-9 unit dispatched to the location by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office conducted an air sniff and alerted to the presence of drugs. The search allegedly led to the discovery of 507 grams of cocaine, 30 grams of marijuana and 16 grams of alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, which is also called flakka.
The woman police identified as the owner of the vehicle was taken into custody on drug charges at the scene. Police say that they made the arrest without incident. She was then transported to the Lowndes County Jail for processing. The 32-year-old Lakeland resident has been charged with felony counts of possessing a Schedule II controlled substance with the intent to distribute and possessing two Schedule I controlled substances with the intent to distribute. Police say the seized drugs had a combined street value of almost $53,000.
Warrantless searches and probable cause
Police likely waited for a drug-sniffing dog to arrive the scene because an anonymous tip alone may not have been enough to justify a warrantless search. Judges take the protections guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment very seriously, and they may exclude seized drugs or other evidence when they determine that police officers conducted searches without sufficient probable cause. When narcotics arrests are made but offenders are not prosecuted, it is often because the drugs seized by investigators were deemed inadmissible at trial.