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They're not so great or don't trust your GPS

It is remarkable how many criminal cases begin as something else. Typically in Michigan, it’s a traffic stop for some minor infraction involving one of the vast number of vehicle and traffic rules. If you have a turn signal burnt out and a police officer observes it, he or she has grounds to stop your vehicle.

The could also stop you if you momentarily cross the centerline or a fog line. Driving too fast or slow could attract their attention, just as driving recklessly will do. Even having one of the lights on your license plate burnt out could be enough to lead a bored traffic cop to decide to pull you over.

For those who decide to cross the international border into Canada, the risk is even greater, as Customs and Border Protection officers have an even broader authority to search vehicles when you venture up north. It is all the riskier when that crossing is inadvertent, as occurred when two Canadians appear to have "accidently" crossed the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie. That mistake could lead to 10 years in prison.

A man from Quebec had hired an Uber driver to take him to Edmonton. They had apparently planned to drive across Canada. Their trip took a turn for the worse when their navigation app routed them across the border.

They lacked proper immigration papers and that triggered greater interest from the immigration authorities. The officers claim they noted an odor of marijuana and proceeded to perform a more thorough inspection. They found marijuana on one man and more than four pounds of methamphetamine packed in a box of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. There were also two pounds of drug Ecstasy.

The Uber driver claims he was merely hired to drive the man from Montreal to Edmonton, but that the GPS system he relied on took them across the border into Michigan in error. The other man claims he knew nothing of the drugs he was transporting, believed the bag contained money and that he had merely been paid to deliver it.

 

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Michael A. McInerney, PLC
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Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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