Court invalidates search that found heroin, cash

Of the Associated Press

PORTLAND — The Oregon Court of Appeals has suppressed the search of a man who aroused police suspicion because he carried images of a criminal who is revered among members of the Sinaloa drug cartel in a case that has pingponged through the Oregon court system.

Portland police stopped Jose G. Rivera during random drug stops at a bus stop in 2010. He showed them an ID card and a receipt with his address on it.

He also had images of Jesus Malverde, a late 1800s and early 1900s criminal figure from Mexican folklore revered among members of the Sinaloa cartel. Malverde is also known as the narco saint.

Police held Rivera and sent a drug team to check his house.

Rivera's roommate, Manuel Managa, allowed them inside their home, where they found heroin in an apartment freezer and $20,000 in cash.

During trial, Managa and Rivera both argued that the searches were illegal. A trial court judge denied their argument, saying the drug team officers were making “mere conversation” with Managa outside his apartment and with Rivera at the bus stop.

But the Court of Appeals ruled with Managa and Rivera, saying that the officers’ presence in bulletproof vests with drug-sniffing dogs at the apartment door made the search “implicitly coercive.”

When prosecutors appealed that decision, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a split ruling. They said the search of Managa and the house was not valid, but said Rivera could still be tried because he had consented to an officer's questions, and wasn't “seized” for the purposes of an investigation.

That sent the case back to trial court. Rivera lost again. He appealed, and the Court of Appeals received the case again.

This time, though, Judge Lynn Nakamoto said the court's analysis didn't rely on whether police “seized” Rivera during the search, but whether the search was, ultimately, valid. The case will be remanded to a trial court with the search evidence suppressed, unless it is appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

“The search of (Rivera's) and Magana's apartment was conducted in violation” of the Oregon Constitution, Nakamoto wrote. “We now reverse and remand again, but for a different reason: Magana's involuntary consent and the consequent unlawful, warrantless search of the apartment that he shared with (Rivera).”


Reach Nigel Duara on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/nigelduara


I Am Darren Wilson

I honestly don't know why 'anyone' would even consider entering law enforcement today. What's the point of going out there every day, risking your life, just to have some morons throw out a valid arrest. The criminals win again. It's a sick, twisted, upside world that we live in.

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