Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints

Returning from a trip along one of our nation’s most highly trafficked interstates, I-20, I happened across this foreboding sign.  I didn’t have any bud on me at the time, but if you’re anything like me, you usually take a few bowls with you on road trips.  Almost instinctively, I pulled over.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  They were going to shut down the entire interstate to check for suspicious vehicles and persons, as if crossing into Louisiana were crossing the Mexican border?  Bienvenue en Louisiane, indeed.

After snapping a few shots of the sign, I pulled back onto the highway, ready to take additional pictures once I arrived at the checkpoint.  However, the checkpoint never surfaced.  Now I understand why:

The local sheriff’s office had established the signs as a “ruse” to direct motorists to exit off the highway after viewing the warning of the upcoming DUI/Narcotics checkpoint.  In fact, there was no checkpoint further down I-40.  Instead, the sheriff set up a checkpoint at the end of the ramp of the first exit available to motorists after the posted signs, an exit not frequently used since no services were offered at the exit.

Isn’t that some bullshit?

Here’s another quote from the same court case, expressing the court’s distrust of Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints.  The court explains what we already know — how easily these stops can be abused by officers.

A pretextual roadblock has pitfalls that come perilously close to permitting unfettered government intrusion on the privacy interests of all motorists.

We believe that the danger inherent in pretextual roadblocks is the potential for giving police the authority to stop every car on the road, question its driver and passengers under the guise of a legitimate traffic related purpose, and then claim enough reasonable suspicion through, for example, the driver’s expression or answers, to conduct a more thorough search of the stopped individuals and vehicles for drugs with insufficient limitations on police discretion.

So, if you’re looking to take a trip anytime soon, take heed of the map below and, if you see one of these signs, don’t fucking exit.  Want more specifics on these checkpoints? Follow the link over to Barry Cooper’s blog.


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138 Responses to “Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints”

  1. James March 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    This practice has been unconstitutional since January of 2000, due to a ruling by the supreme court.

    • admin March 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

      Too bad they aren’t honoring that decision. I took this picture a couple of months ago.

    • citation August 23, 2010 at 4:52 am #

      @James please cite the “ruling” by the supreme court in Jan 2000. What are you referring to?

    • kim September 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

      Narcotics check points are illegal. Cops faking them are not illegal. They can post the signs saying there is a check point, waiting for the vehicle to exit, or throw their shit out of the window. This gives cops reasonable suspicion to then pull the car over. And for some reason people let the cops search the car even if they know they have shit in there. If you see one of these road signs just keep driving because they are just waiting for you to give them reason to pull you over. Don’t throw the shit out the window either, if you end up getting pulled over, just tell them no when they ask to search the car.

      • No One September 15, 2010 at 5:22 am #

        Taking an exit before a fake checkpoint is not reasonable suspicion to search for whatever that checkpoint claims. Otherwise, cops could just announce, every day, that they will be searching all people who leave their house that day, giving them reasonable suspicion to search anyone who /doesn’t/ leave their house, never mind that some would’ve stayed in either way.

      • Jon Marcus September 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

        The article says they chose an “infrequently used exit” with no services. If a car without local plates/stickers suddenly pulls off at a rural exit with no gas station/restaurant/etc. when they’ve been warned about an impending drug search, that might be considered “reasonable cause.”

        I don’t much like the idea, and don’t agree with it. But it’s not a slam dunk that’s it’s unconstituional.

      • admin September 16, 2010 at 6:47 am #

        Guilty until proven innocent, that’s the American way.

      • Stephen September 16, 2010 at 11:12 am #

        There’s got to be a taxpayer money use question raised here if a road is so rarely used everyone on it is presumed to be fleeing from the police.

      • anon September 17, 2010 at 6:58 am #

        Jon is absolutely right. There was a case out of the Eastern District of Missouri in 2000, after Indianapolis v. Edmonds, which held this:
        “In defendant Yousif’s case, the combination of the I-44 signage and the lack of any apparent reason for a motorist to exit I-44 at the Sugar Tree Road exit other than to avoid the announced drug checkpoint established a reasonable suspicion that every vehicle that came to the checkpoint was involved in illicit drug activity.”
        The case is called U.S. v. Yousif. It is unreported, but can be found on WestLaw (2000 WL 1916534).

        Don’t put any faith in Indianapolis v. Edmonds – there are a hundred ways cops can get around its holding. For example, registration checkpoints are legal, and it is legal for the cops to have a dog a those checkpoints.

      • anon September 17, 2010 at 9:52 am #

        Whoops, I’ve done some more research and found out the case I listed above was overturned. See U.S. v. Yousif, 308 F.3d 820.
        So this kind of trick is unconstitutional, at least in the 8th circuit. See my comment further below for a quote from the case.

      • example September 17, 2010 at 1:08 am #

        Yeah, I don’t think just putting up a fake sign is illegal. But putting up a real checkpoint on the exit certainly would be.

        But no worries, they’re probably just pulling over black people.

      • AverageOne September 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

        Nope. Gettin’ whities too, boy. I fell for it in Louisiana because my license was suspended. When I veered off the interstate, your local cajun lawman was waiting for me. I just pulled over before he had the chance to blue light me, because I knew I had been set up. Then when he approached, I told him before he could ask that I was in violation of the law, and that he could turn my car inside-out if he wanted to(I am clean). He did so, and was satisfied at that, did not even run my license, even though I told him upfront it was suspended. Then he told me to get lost. Gladly!

      • Juan Obrien November 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

        All the feds need is one word: “SUSPICION” and or “PROBABLE CAUSE”………. ASS HOLES!!!

      • SPARKY July 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

        great point bro

      • Alan September 15, 2010 at 5:33 am #

        Actually, establishing an excuse for probable cause to search your car is even easier than that. The officer simply says “I smelled burnt marijuana coming from the open car window”, or “The narcotics-detection dog walked around the car, stopped at the trunk and signaled the presence of drugs.” Very few if any judges in this country are going to question the officer’s story.

      • MDF September 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

        True, but many appellate courts would throw it out nonetheless. The issue is the initial stop. Even if the claim is general traffic enforcement, a good lawyer would ask why a dog specialized in detecting narcotics was at a stop where the sole purpose was traffic enforcement, and, by the way, now many traffic enforcement tickets did you issue that day? Establish that the stop was pretext, and the evidence is thrown out.

      • LGH September 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

        This is exactly how lawyers work. Also I’d like to note that this begs the question if the police are committing entrapment. The police can flat out lie with lines like “i smelled marijuana” and then legally allowed to search you. This can, does and has happened. The best you can do for yourself at this point is say nothing at all.

      • David Schwartz September 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

        If they throw something out the window, sure. But if they exit, that does not give them reasonable suspicion — they cannot pull the car over.

        All the car taking the exit does, at most, is indicate the person doesn’t wish to interact with the police. But that could be because they don’t want the hassle, because they don’t want to waste the police’s time on an innocent person, or don’t want to risk something being planted on them by a dirty cop.

        Taking lawful action to avoid interaction with the police can never constitute reasonable suspicion or the fourth amendment is gutted. The police simply ask to search you, and if you say no, they now have reasonable suspicion.

      • Glenn September 21, 2011 at 5:35 am #

        No, that’s not how it works David.

        In the US and most western countries simply refusing a search is not grounds for reasonable suspicion. In the US you have a right to refuse a search. You need to clearly state to the officer that you absolutely refuse though (politely, obviously). Say something like “No, i’m not comfortable with you performing a search officer” or “Sorry officer, but I don’t consent to any searches”.

        Of course, a cop can just lie and say they smelled marijuana – but then if they don’t actually FIND any marijuana you they’re in shit.

        If you are actually in possession then you should always refuse a police search every single time. Even if you’re innocent you should refuse a search because who knows what an irresponsible friend etc has left in the car, or who knows what a corrupt cop might plant in the car? The cops rely on intimidating people and having people give up their rights freely. If you consent to a search you are giving up your rights and if something does go wrong you can’t do much about it.

        Just because you say no to a search doesn’t mean you can go though – a good question to ask officers if they are keeping you a long time is “Am I under arrest, or am I free to go?”.

        And just because you say no to a search doesn’t mean they can’t ask other questions. You have a right to refuse to answer questions, but unless you get arrested you should answer a few questions within reason – refusing to talk to the police at all looks very suspicious. However, you also have to be careful because the more information you give to the police the more info they have to build up reasonable suspicion.

        Always remain very calm, even if the officer does not. As soon as you become angry / dangerous the cops have a lot more leeway to do all kinds of nasty things to you and your car.

        Also NEVER touch an officer (that is assault), and never get out of your car unless you are directed to do so by an officer.

        If an officer asks you to do something you don’t want to do, you should ask “is that an order or a request?”. Often police will make a request of you, but say it in a way that SOUNDS LIKE they are giving you an order – they are trained to talk to people with a tone of authority as it makes people more compliant.

        If an officer pulls a weapon then it’s time to cooperate with every single thing they say. Your safety is more important than exercising your rights and there will be time to complain later in court.

        If you are actually arrested then you should NEVER resist arrest. However you should shut up and not say a single thing to the police if you are arrested – you DO have a right to remain silent and you should use it. The police say that “anything you say MAY be used against you in court” but what that really means is that “anything you say WILL DEFINITELY be used against you in court and CANNOT be used for your defense”. So if you do get arrested, refuse to answer any questions or talk to police. Ask for a phone call and a lawyer, that is all.

    • anon September 17, 2010 at 7:02 am #

      THIS practice is not unconstitutional. It is actually one way that cops get around that supreme court ruling (Indianapolis v. Edmonds), by creating circumstances of individualized suspicion. If the checkpoint was actually on the highway, it would be illegal, but by putting it on a little used exit, the cops can then claim that they have reasonable suspicion. This practice has been upheld by other courts.

      Don’t put any faith in that Supreme Court decision. There are several ways to get around its holding – for example, administrative checkpoints and DWI checkpoints are both legal, so all the cops have to do is put a dog at them.

      • anon September 17, 2010 at 9:50 am #

        Whoops, I’ve done some more research and found that I was wrong. In U.S. v. Yousif, 308 F.3d 820 (8th Cir. 2002) the appeals court OVERTURNED the admissibility of evidence seized in a stop like this one. The court wrote:

        “While the checkpoint at issue in the present case differs from the checkpoint at issue in Edmond in that the MHP used signs to suggest to drivers that taking the Sugar Tree Road exit was a way to avoid a police checkpoint, the mere fact that some vehicles took the exit under such circumstances does not, in our opinion, create individualized reasonable suspicion of illegal activity as to every one of them. Indeed, as the government’s evidence indicated, while some drivers may have wanted to avoid being caught for drug trafficking, many more took the exit for wholly innocent reasons-such as wanting to avoid the inconvenience and delay of being stopped or because it was part of their intended route.”

        So these tricks are illegal, at least in the 8th Circuit (Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and S. Dakota).

  2. bb September 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    As long as drugs are illegal, that’s actually a really clever way to *only* target those people with drugs on them, without needing to search every car crossing the freeway. Cost-effective and completely respecting privacy rights.

    • Ben September 9, 2010 at 7:19 am #

      “that’s actually a really clever way to *only* target those people with drugs on them”

      Avoiding checkpoint != having illegal substances on you. That correlation is tenuous at best, IMO. I for one would get off because of the unnecessary traffic tie ups.

    • No One September 15, 2010 at 5:23 am #

      Except for the people who are legitimately using that exit because they live off of it or are visiting someone off of it or feel, for some other reason, that they should cease driving at the most immediate time.

    • anon September 15, 2010 at 6:58 am #

      Respecting privacy?

      In many countries is illegal to lure citizens into performing any action that is illegal or even suspect.
      Things like leaving a bait (i.e. a wallet on the floor) cannot be allowed to avoid going down along a slippery slope.

  3. Jo Manny September 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Stupid cops, go find some real crime to pursue.


    • Fail Spotter September 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

      Fail! Jo Manny, I don’t know where you live, but I am certain your state/city/town have laws making narcotics illegal. No matter how liberal your views on drugs may be, they are still illegal and no matter what you think are not victimless crimes. How about you don’t have illegal drugs on you. And if you wish to smoke pot, push it through state bills and such.

      • Bobby Brady September 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

        You are the epitome of a worthless human being. You defend the bullshit and bow down to other people and you help enslave us all. You allow other people to control you and you don’t want anyone else to exercise their freedoms as human beings. You think you are being righteous or a model citizen, but you are only taking away your own liberty as well. ILLEGAL is illegal I guess. No use questioning it or disagreeing. If other people tell you that you are not allowed, then you must obey. You are someone who deserves all you freedom to be taken away. Maybe you will be convicted of a crime that you are innocent of or you will discover that you are a homosexual and not aloud to marry. Maybe then you will be not so apt to get on your knees and deep throat the long dick of the law as you currently do. I bet it tastes really good you self righteous jackass.

      • admin September 19, 2010 at 3:28 am #

        Thanks for saying what so many of us wanted to but hadn’t yet. Blind fools.

      • white tiger April 6, 2011 at 7:14 am #

        What a bunch of whiny,wimpy, wussy dopers!
        Dope screws up your brain, kills your inhibitions, reduces you to a blob of feces, and y’all love it! Dope is your mama, to wipe your butts and tuck you in. Dope is your retreat to the womb- climb back in and snuggle into the amniotic fluid , you tiny, helpless, absolutely irresponsible, worthless snots!
        And then bitch when you naughty little kids get tagged holding the shit you stuff into your brains- or whats left of them- probably not much. But, so what? There is always SSI, isn’t there? Dope disability. Then y’all can lay around, cowardly babies that y’all are, and stay smurfed for forty years until y’all die and go to Hell, where, after they tuck you in and wipe your ass, they stuff the ass wipe down your cute, tiny throats. Gutless, clueless, worthless excrement- dopey, doobie doo-doos!

      • mark March 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

        wow you sound like your on drugs. like you have beaten somebody recently. Like you just lost your job when internal affairs noticed you have a self righteous angry streak that interfered with your work. Do you outwardly growl like a dog at strangers who don’t look right to you? You must realize that Americans are supposed to be in charge of their own bodies until they harm someone. Dope is now being grown locally more and more, which eliminates the victim. It’s prohibition that creates the victims because it creates an unregulated market full of trigger happy profiteers (mob, gangs, corruption) Go get drunk while it’s still legal, bc the younger generation of today will eventually flip the legality of alcohol and reefer bc it’ll save thousands of lives a year to do so.

      • notsomuch October 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

        @Fail Spotter,
        That doesn’t really work now does it?
        too many people afraid of the big old bad gate way drug. That if some one smokes weed that they are going to give crack to baby’s keep on preventing its legalization. Its ridiculous and a waste of everyones time

  4. pizzle September 9, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Pfft, those are nothing.

    Here in Arizona we have full on checkpoints, not “ruses”

    I-8 Eastbound between Yuma and Phoenix has a border patrol checkpoint, armed and with several dogs that go by each vehicle. This isn’t “by the border” it’s FAR within the state of Arizona and you have to travel a long way on the freeway before you reach it.

    There is also a checkpoint on the way north from Yuma towards Lake Havasu City, but I can’t remember the name of that road off the top of my head. I don’t take that one very often.

    I go to San Luis a lot from Phoenix, and I always have to travel through the I-8 checkpoint on the way back. Don’t carry anything with you not even a pipe, because dogs are sensitive and may detect in your vehicle, and the border patrol will screw you by calling DPS even if its just a bowl.

    • Dave September 9, 2010 at 7:06 am #

      Hey man, I travel that same stretch of I-8 from PHX to Yuma every other weekend to pickup my kids. They moved that check point, it’s basically gone and they re-opened the one in Yuma. I thought it was strange they had it setup for years as a temp site on the interstate. The other has been established for decades.

      • x September 19, 2010 at 7:56 am #

        The “checkpoint” was open on I-8 East (in the middle of nowhere) last January (2010).

        Also one on CA 78 South Outside of Brawley.

      • Cali April 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

        I-8 border patrol point is open before before yuma…
        wasn’t expecting it, passed the 2 in the mountains coming from San Diego, not open, never drove to pheonix before. Had a “J” in my pack of cigs and a pipe in the glove compartment..thought nothing of it then I see bright lights and signs..I was panicing in my mind a bit..dogs…and one right outside my door with the officer.I roll down my window he asks me if i’m a us citizen..yes..and sends me on my from the i laugh at myslef but the next time nonting is coming with me…

    • GuerrillaLogic September 15, 2010 at 4:57 am #

      It’s actually totally legal for FEDERAL agents to pull you over for any reason… it does not have to be related to a traffic violation. You could just be driving down a road that illegals and traffickers use.

      This is not true for local, county, or state officials. ONLY FEDERAL AGENTS (Border Patrol are Federal Agents)

      … I’m not saying I agree with that, but it’s true.

      I use to live damn near on the Rio Grande in Texas and I got pulled over MANY times just for taking a back road at 3:00am

      … They would just ask my party and me if we were American citizens… we were… then they would say have a nice night.

  5. Alex September 9, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    It’s unconstitutional – actually, it already has been challenged in court and determined to be illegal, however ‘law enforcement’ flouts the law because there is money in it for them (personally!).

  6. Moby September 9, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    Saw the same exact thing in Louisiana. There’s a sign for a checkpoint, but no checkpoint down the road.

  7. Nikki September 9, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    IMHO perhaps the only real decent justification of having a traffic stop is to try to catch a escaped criminal or to stop something like a plague or maybe a obviously drunk driver, even that might be stretching it. But just creating a atmosphere of fear of what the cops might find. Or even conjure up some charges. Unless they are driving obviously impaired somehow and dangerous to others. I take affront to police just inspecting many innocent passersbys for something I feel is not right and I also feel they (the police) are trespassing on people’s rights. Simply having drugs in a car is none of their concern. Stopping people for seat belts really pissing me off.

    • Fail Spotter September 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

      You liberals are disgusting. “Having drugs in a car is none of thier concern”….”Stopping people for seatbealts is really pissing me off”. How about just obeying the law? Try that one.

      • Bob Constantine September 20, 2010 at 7:23 am #

        Germans that put jews on trains and people that returned runaway slaves were just “obeying the law” too. Why not leave peaceful people alone if they are not harming you?

      • admin September 20, 2010 at 7:28 am #

        Excellent point. Thank you for making it!

      • Erbureth September 30, 2010 at 5:49 am #

        Do you call invocation of the Godwin’s Law an “excellent point”?

      • notsomuch October 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

        yes thats right, obey the law even if its not fair or you believe it is not right.
        obey even if it is an invasion of you freedom.
        obey because the majority thinks you shouldn’t do something that does not effect them.
        yes obey.
        you just keep obeying buddy
        but out of curiosity if you were alive during the Prohibition would you have obeyed and not had a drink?

  8. Bob September 9, 2010 at 4:06 am #

    Don’t carry narcotics then you won’t have anything ton worry about.

    • MDF September 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      Except maybe your constitutional rights.

    • russdog October 16, 2010 at 9:25 am #

      Hey take my rights!! I wasn’t using them anyway!!

    • mark March 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      I do worry. I worry a bad cop will plant drugs in my car at a checkpoint. I worry about my right to travel unimpeded when all the lights on my car work and my license is valid etc etc. I don’t do drugs. I don’t want to live in a nanny fascist country.

  9. VisionTwits September 9, 2010 at 6:30 am #

  10. theterm September 9, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    About time!…. a bunch of drugs are consumed here and nobody does anything about it but bitch about what happens in other countries

  11. Naughty September 9, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    Here is an idea, don’t use illegal drugs. They are not required to be happy and are a waste of time and $$$. Find some other bad legal habbit. It is your own fault if you get busted.

    • Joe September 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

      Here’s another idea. Spray random car tires with weed tea in area parking lots. Then watch the fun.

      • notsomuch October 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

        YESSS!!!! hahahahahaaaa

    • Bob Constantine September 20, 2010 at 7:24 am #

      Weeda Claus thinks it’s naughty to try to run other people’s lives especially if they are not bothering anybody. Lump of coal for you!

  12. HOLLYWOOD September 9, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Ha ha, that is a good way to do it. Hardly original but good. If you don’t like it then stop driving around with dope in your car. Seriously if it stops some of the drug traffic, it’s worth it.

  13. Rich Grosskettler September 9, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune

  14. Driving Negotiations September 9, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune

  15. Josh September 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    How about not driving on the highway with illegal substances in your car?

    The illegality is another argument altogether, but don’t protest by carrying them and then complain when you’re caught.

  16. scully September 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    It might be drugs they are after now but when they start arresting people on false terror charges and pple who speak out against a police state then it will be too late to go back, temporary road blocks will become fully armed re-enforced permanent structures and the noose of control around the law abiding public will tighten. this is wrong, one more civil liberty thrown in the trash.

  17. scully September 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Plus the police are preying mostly on pple with a little bit of ganja doing nothing wrong. It should be legal then most pple in America wont have a problem with these check points , just the herion/crack/meth runners that will fear it.

  18. DIGS September 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    I got burned by this in 1998. Stop 19 on map above. Four of us were up all night fishing and partying, had little sleep, 12 hr drive ahead of us, saw the sign and turned off. Full canine car search, they found minute quantities. Said one of us would be issued a $700 ticket and court appointment. We debated, agents got frustrated and said if we didn’t decide who would get the ticket that we all would. We grabbed some roadside foliage and began drawing straws. Agent said “Goddamnit kids, Get the hell out here before I change my mind”. Now I don’t pull off when I see these signs.

    • Bhima September 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

      DIGS: While I do not support the war on drugs, I think the end result of that stop was reasonable: They scared you, and nobody went to prison or court. They could’ve done a lot worse, but thankfully they didn’t.

      • notsomuch October 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

        just because the out come could’ve been worse does not mean settling for something is a good way to go.

  19. Andrew Chen September 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    Narcotics honeypot

  20. Orian Marx September 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    RT @andrewchen: Narcotics honeypot

  21. Bhima September 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    If they put the signs up and watched for people throwing stuff out the window, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    I’m really annoyed at the suggestion that, somehow, only bad people would try to avoid a checkpoint. Maybe I just won’t want to get in line behind lots of other cars? Maybe my wife is allergic to dogs and doesn’t want their fur around her? Maybe I just don’t like random, civil-liberties infringing inspections?

    All of my reasons for avoiding such a checkpoint are true, and I’ve never touched a joint in my life.

  22. isaacson September 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    warning, its apparently pretty easy to trick potheads.

  23. furiousball September 17, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    friggin’ horrible, constitution schmontitution… thanks for posting this, hope this crap stops

    • MikeF September 17, 2010 at 9:06 am #

      Hah! As a former narc, I thought it was great idea when I first heard of it. I actually proposed doing it in my jurisdiction with a difference being that that drivers would have to perform a clearly illegal u-turn to get off the road. The stop is for a clear violation and if probable cause (search w or w/o warrant) or reasonable suspicion (ask for permission to search) is developed from there, so be it. Its been done with a fair amount of “success” across the country. We never did it because its fairly manpower intensive. Across the country, most violations found after the initial stop are for something other than narcotics (no license, expired registration, firearms in the car, warrants on occupants etc.) Sometimes it is a matter of embarassing items in the car. I don’t have the stats or a cite but it is/was my understanding that the vast majority of people taking the quick exit or making the u-turn were doing something wrong. The whole idea is to use their guilty minds against them. Don’t get caught because you fell for a trick and then bitch about your Constitutional rights being violated. Most of you seem to be missing the point. There is no checkpoint, no search with dogs, no inspecting innocent people, etc. Just getting off at an exit, whether rarely used or not, wouldn’t be enough for a stop. There’s nothing illegal about that. Making the illegal u-turn (already existing and clearly marked)is a valid reason to stop a car. Once the stop is made the cops can’t simply search your car or delay you unreasonably. There is plenty of case law on that. Sounds like sour grapes to me. You did or are doing something wrong, got caught because you knew you were doing it and now want to blame someone else crying, “Its not fair!”. The thing is – it is fair. Take responsibility for your own actions and choices.

      • 056113 October 15, 2010 at 1:41 am #

        OK, first off, you are conflating your hypothetical scenario with the reality of the story. In reality, the police are harassing, intimidating, and violating the rights of the people who get off on that exit, for whatever reason. In your ‘version,’ drivers are being coerced, by the threat of engagement with police, into performing illegal U-turns, which in your mind validates a stop. Also….

        “You did or are doing something wrong, got caught because you knew you were doing it and now want to blame someone else crying, “Its not fair!” The thing is – it is fair. Take responsibility for your own actions and choices.”

        See, the thing is, these people are not doing anything wrong. And another thing is, it’s not fair. Let’s talk about fairness, and responsibility – how fair is it that you can come into my home, my vehicle, my person and demand proof of my guilt or innocence, threaten me, beat me, electrocute me or blind me with chemical burns, kidnap and imprison me, take my children away from me, take all I own, even kill me if you see the chance; I have virtually no legal recourse and no ability to resist, all because of a substance that no one who doesn’t want to take, doesn’t. And you believe that I should take responsibility? What you mean is that I should be responsible for your actions, that whatever a cop does in the course of duty is to be blamed on ‘crime.’ YOU need to take responsibility for YOUR actions, and your choices – if you’re anything like every other narc I’ve met, you’ve spent the majority of your career and probably your life inflicting pain and misery on people who didn’t deserve it, who didn’t threaten or harm anyone, people whose chief offense was enjoying a different intoxicant than you do, and perhaps supplying that intoxicant to demanding consumers. Your job is to take a situation that involves a substance – any substance, really, if it can be shown that anyone has used it as an intoxicant – and make it much, much worse for everyone involved but you. You send people to rot away, be raped, infected with HIV, beaten, isolated, etc. in prison while you are given pay raises and service decorations. How’s that for fairness? If your line of work was anything close to fair, it would be open season on all police officers, and citizens would be expected to defend themselves from even petty police incursions with deadly force. If the drug war was fair AT ALL, citizens would treat police the way police treat citizens – with brutal, hateful, domineering behavior and attitudes, explosive bouts of inexplicable violence, and an unthinking, deeply ingrained, unearned sense of superiority and intolerance towards everyone not in their tribe, or gang (whichever best describes how police see themselves). If you were to sincerely take responsibility for your actions, you would commit the rest of your life to exonerating those you have violated and condemning those who you’ve worked with.

        The law says drugs are illegal – if you believe that this means they are ‘wrong,’ morally or otherwise, or if you believe that all laws deserve enforcement, then you are a failure of an American who urgently needs a civics lesson. Our legislatures will always have some degree of corruption, some degree of alienation from the population. We depend on our citizens, of whom the police should be the finest but sadly are usually quite the opposite, to make rational judgments about their real-world conduct regardless of these laws. And they do. But the police, don’t. Real citizens, the people who are trying to keep America a free country, are the ones who know that laws which don’t serve the people justice are not to be respected. That’s the foundation of this country. I’m sick of people like you, the people who, if they had their way, would NEVER have created this country, because they could NEVER get over the idea of breaking some ridiculous rules, even for the cause of human rights, justice, freedom, or self-determination.

        The only thing ‘wrong’ with this is police’ behavior and attitude, which is blatantly contradictory to the ideals of freedom, privacy, and rights which America is supposed to stand for. The idea of the state, using the threat of violence, interfering with the private conduct of someone who harms no one (99% of ‘drug’ users) should be repulsive to every American. There are still anti-sodomy laws on the books in several states. Would you arrest practicing homosexuals, in such a situation? Perhaps you’ll argue that they’re ‘hurting themselves’ or ‘endangering the community.’ It’s clear only a bigot would support such a position, and guess what? It takes a bigot to support your position, because they are the SAME. Only a bigoted perspective could produce thinking which sees this travesty, this violation of the solemn pact between the state and the people, as a ‘great idea.’ With perspective like that, I would hate to think what else occurs to you as a ‘great idea.’ Probably mandatory digital rectal exams for everyone every four hours. Because a law’s a law, right? Remember this – if the law were applied fully and equally to everyone, you too would be in prison – with the rest of us.

        The only bright point in your comment is that you say you are a ‘former’ narc, and for that I thank you – thank you for either being too old or too tired to keep ruining harmless people’s lives, because some bigoted old white pricks a hundred years ago decided how everyone else could pursue their happiness. If this, the supremacy of laws regardless of their content, is the standard by which you live your life, then truly, I pity you. You will never, maybe can never, be a part of this nation. I suggest you find another country to degrade and destroy with your bigotry, violence, and terror, somewhere like Saudi Arabia, or perhaps Communist China, where the state is more comfortable dictating which hand to hold your fork in, how you may fuck your wife, or what you are allowed to believe. Until the, I suggest you research and join L.E.A.P. and begin your repentance. Otherwise, you risk becoming a historical embarrassment, an American brownshirt who contributed only hate and pain to the miserable condition of this country while all around you was misfortune and undeserved suffering. Good job, dick.

  24. Bull September 17, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    If your not doing anything illegal you have nothing to worry about. If it takes DUI/Drug checkpoints to get drunks and potheads off the road before they kill someone so be it. Hope they catch everyone of you drunk potheads. You have no reason or right to put others in danger because you want to break the law and get drunk or high and then drive.

    • admin September 17, 2010 at 10:22 am #

      The point – for readers of this blog – is that it shouldn’t be illegal. I don’t mean driving while stoned, either. I mean possession of marijuana. Possessing marijuana isn’t harmful to anyone, including your driving ability.

    • LOL September 20, 2010 at 10:39 am #

      LOL you make me laugh Bull. You should probably do some research before you start pulling shit out your ass. Marijuana has been shown not only to hardly impair your driving ability, but actually makes drivers under the influence of marijuana compensate even more. The drivers are more cautious and will slow down or increase the concentration to limit the dangers of driving impaired.

      I know there was recent study in the past few years that continues to validate these points.

      Seriously people need to stop wearing their blinders, and actually find out the truth for themselves. There are plenty of scientific articles that exist which shows the truth about drugs, so you can make an objective informed decision with out the governments dick up your ass.

      Also these laws are doing more harm than good. Marijuana has never been the cause of death for any human being in history (allergic reaction leading to death may be plausible). Cancer has never been seen to be caused by the consumption of marijuana, regardless of some of cancer causing chemicals that are consumed during combustion. The cannabinoids within marijuana have been shown to make the potential for cancer from the consumption of marijuana through smoke nil. Also there are other ways of consuming marijuana to prevent tar build up or any other concerns involving smoking, such as vaporization and taking orally in a fat based substance. Even so, america criminalizes its citizens even when the crimes are non-violent and have no way of affecting others. Consumption of marijuana in your own home caused no risk to anyone else. Yet america seems to ignore this, while they throw back large amounts of an actually deadly and harmful drug (if used irresponsibly of course), alcohol. Just look up how many deaths are caused by the consumption of alcohol and compare that number to the number 0….

      • mark March 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

        “Marijuana has been shown not only to hardly impair your driving ability, but actually makes drivers under the influence of marijuana compensate even more. The drivers are more cautious and will slow down or increase the concentration to limit the dangers of driving impaired.”

        There is one notable exception. Inexperienced young drivers with friends in the car. Passing a bowl around, cracking jokes, listening to loud music, talking on the phone, etc reduces their awareness of the ever changing environment around them on the road. They might “accidentally” run over a pedestrian or rear end a car at a traffic light. Alone, the concentration is excellent, with others distracting them, not so much.

    • mark March 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Duh. driving under the influence is bad, but what about the innocent who DO worry for other (legal) reasons? Nanny-states are slippery-slopes that end up police-states. Your attitude is a virus with no cure. Find traffic violations, don’t create them with illegal coerced u-turns.

  25. Ross Wolf September 17, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    It has been reported numerous times that 50% of illegal drug cartel proceeds are spent bribing police and Politicians. Anyone would be stupid to agree to police searching their vehicle at a drug inspection check point with or without a warrant. It is so easy for police to plant drugs to ruin someone’s life.

  26. Mike Z September 17, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Hey Bull

    When was the last time you heard of a “pothead” killing someone in an auto accident?

    • Vermont Woodchuck September 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      In Burlington, VT, three years ago, on the Beltline, fool crossed the divider and hit the oncoming head on. Tests confirmed he was stoned out of his dome. Now he’s doing the time.

      • admin September 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

        Tests proved he had THC in his urine or blood… that doesn’t prove he was high while driving, or that marijuana was the cause for the accident. Marijuana can be found in urine long after the last time someone smoked; a couple of months in some cases.

    • wakeup September 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

      “Last year, 20 per cent of all drivers killed on our roads tested positive to detectable quantities of prohibited drugs in their system.”

      • seriously December 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

        People that have never smoked pot basically believe what the government has been saying for the past 100 years.I would recomend to all you non smokers, lock yourself in your home smoke some killer Cali weed and watch Refer Madness that was developed by the government back in the 30’s. You may realize then, what kind of bull shit the government will shove down your throat. Research history, and realize how many people have unselfishly died for the rights we have today, those deaths should never be taken in vain, most where just kids when they died for the freedom we enjoy today. In some contries you would go to jail for post like this. Wake the fuck up people no cause is worth losing your rights to privacy. If all cops where honest we would not need defence attorneys.

  27. September 17, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Interesting and informative Blog check it out !! Returning from a trip along one of our nation’s most highly…

  28. KNY September 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm # <— One of my friends fell for this very same trick.

  29. anon September 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    You missed a site. In St. Charles County, MO on I-70 just west of St. Louis, the sheriffs pull over people with moving trailers or trucks for tiny violations, tell them they won’t prosecute, then ask to search the vehicle. If the request is denied (with a moving truck or trailer it’s a lot to ask) they get out a dog and it “finds” something that they say enables them to search.

  30. peterabbit September 17, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    It’s all criminal. What the police are doing. Once they stop you and search you, if they don’t find something, they’ll plant something. Just depends what state you’re in. Some suck more than others, and none curtail the amount of drugs no matter what state.
    The drug war is not a failure the drug companies and the the government won. Who’s the single largest drug importer to america?
    Who’s the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer of LEGAL THC?
    Watson Pharmaceuticals.

    The illegal drug excuse is just that. Like the narc here said they often find,(and steal) much more. I can’t tell you how many times in my youth crossing this free country of ours, I was singled out because of appearances. And ripped off by cops. Independence, Missouri State Troopers, specifically.
    And all them red-neck lying stealing bastards know damn well they take shit from innocent people. Especially the ones with out of state plates, pulled over in Podunk little inbred towns across the heartland.
    It’s the freakin the twilight zone anywhere a couple hundred miles outside a major city. Brainwashed, ethnocentric, TV educated morons. This country is embarrassing.
    We are energy gluttons and lie about our freedoms. The constitution printed on rag-hemp bond and is good only to wipe your ass with. It means nothing anymore.
    You gave it all away when you let them make up the home land, ya security bullshit. And now they want to outlaw seeds and private commercial agriculture, Senate Bill 510.
    You all better wake the F up.

    For me, no longer living in the continental US, is the best revenge. I kick back in paradise know those idiots still freeze their butt in the winter and worry about flooding again in the summer, if they aren’t stuck by lightning first, God’s Country gotta love todo? LOL

  31. d September 18, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    kinda funny…its always amused me…people doing illegal things.. being upset at cops breaking laws….

    • admin September 18, 2010 at 3:26 am #

      They are being paid to uphold the law, not break it.

  32. bubba September 18, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    Here’s an idea,…Don’t do drugs, They’re illegal….whining about the cops while you break the law? Drugs do nothing but ruin people’s lives…Grow up

    • admin September 18, 2010 at 8:33 am #

      Yeah, my life is totally ruined. Pass the Seagram’s.

    • Doctress Julia September 21, 2010 at 12:07 am #

      Here’s an idea… suck it. Asshole.

    • notsomuch October 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

      here’s an idea…. keep following the other lemmings around. they say its bad for you, you should listen. only the laws making people who do smoke weed or take mushrooms, into criminals ruin peoples lives…. Wake up

  33. MargariteAnwar September 27, 2010 at 4:25 am #

    Not wanting to be searched is not probable cause for anything other than being a kick-ass American.

  34. Nick van Terheyden October 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    clever ruse in drug check points

  35. Ant Allan October 15, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Police sign warns of random stops for narcotics checks ahead; actually search cars taking the next exit! / via Schneier

  36. Ori Meissa October 15, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    RT @antallan: Police sign warns of random stops for narcotics checks ahead; actually search cars taking the next exit! / via Schneier

  37. grecs October 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    Schneier's newsletter re police announcing narcotics checkpoint & then stopping cars who took next.. (via @technogeezer)

    • BOSTONGEORGE October 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm #


  38. John Smith August 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    OKLAHOMA: Pauls Valley in Garvin County, northbound I-35.
    COLORADO: I-70 Westbound and Eastbound.
    UTAH: Eastbound I-70.
    NEBRASKA; I-80 Eastbound. Especially around Lincoln.
    You will be Stopped for driving Out-of-state Plates.
    Profiling 24/7.

    • admin August 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

      Thanks for the heads-up and taking the time to comment, John.

  39. Tally b November 24, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I have been looking into these stops that LSP have been making and about 50% of the stories start with, the driver crossed the fog line. I’m curious how many drug times can a story start like that and end with we found drugs. They are makinging illegal stops and/or planting drugs on innocent people, majority african american. We need to expose these pigs who think they are higher than the law and helping these for profit prisons make money by sentencing these victims to jail for 15 years a piece.

  40. Rick June 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    had one this weekend in westminster colorado…3 ticketed for traffic violations 1 arrested for 12 plus oz of mmj…lame.


  1. 420 Tribune - March 25, 2010

    [Blog] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #mmot

  2. CannaGraphic.Com - March 25, 2010

    RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #drugwar #mmot

  3. Lord Marley - March 25, 2010

    RT @CannaGraphic: RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #drugwar #mmot

  4. LL Cool Jesus - March 25, 2010

    RT @CannaGraphic: RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #drugwar #mmot

  5. Norvell Robinson - March 26, 2010

    RT @CannaGraphic: RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #drugwar #mmot

  6. Inmate - March 26, 2010

    RT @CannaGraphic: RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints #drugwar #mmot

  7. Marc Parent - March 26, 2010

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints

  8. billy - March 26, 2010

    RT @420Tribune: Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints // don't fall for this…

  9. navid - March 27, 2010

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune –

  10. Digg Top - March 27, 2010

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints

  11. tgjer - March 27, 2010 highway narcotics checkpoint ruse – if you see one of these, don't exit

  12. Meena Arora - March 28, 2010

    Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints

  13. Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune « Push Back Tyranny - September 8, 2010

    […] After snapping a few shots of the sign, I pulled back onto the highway, ready to take additional pictures once I arrived at the checkpoint.  However, the checkpoint never surfaced.  Now I understand why: The local sheriff’s office had established the signs as a “ruse” to direct motorists to exit off the highway after viewing the warning of the upcoming DUI/Narcotics checkpoint.  In fact, there was no checkpoint further down I-40.  Instead, the sheriff set up a checkpoint at the end of the ramp of the first exit available to motorists after the posted signs, an exit not frequently used since no services were offered at the exit. via […]

  14. Beware of Shady Police Checkpoints | I Love Weed - September 8, 2010

    […] signs, an exit not frequently used since no services were offered at the exit.Read more at the source. var linkwithin_div_class="linkwithin_hook";var linkwithin_site_id=134957;       […]

  15. Narcotics Checkpoints - - current events, politics, culture, ethics, economics discussion forum - September 15, 2010

    […] […]

  16. NA-235-2010-09-16 | No Agenda Show Notes - September 16, 2010

    […] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune […]

  17. Amazing But True: The News is Actually Getting Even Worse? « Out Of My Mind - September 17, 2010

    […] American Justice: Nabbing dumb dopers. […]

  18. Geek 3000 » Drug-search honeypots - September 17, 2010

    […] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints (via Schneier) […]

  19. Boing Boing – Drug-Search Honeypots « Kickingcrow's Weblog - September 17, 2010

    […] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints (via Schneier) […]

  20. Drug-search honeypots | - austin, texas, news feeds, current events, opinion - September 18, 2010

    […] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints (via Schneier) Supreme Court declares strip search of 13-year-old student … […]

  21. providenz - September 18, 2010

    Narcotic honeypot

  22. Eric Veiras Galisson - September 18, 2010

    ♺ @providenz: Narcotic honeypot

  23. » Policyjny Honeypot -- -- - September 19, 2010

    […] To się dopiero nazywa lifehacking :-) za Schneierem […]

  24. PROINFOSEC - September 19, 2010

    Police honeypot :)) – Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints – (via

  25. jordisoler - September 19, 2010

    ¿Cómo detectar a conductores bajo el efecto de las drogas? Con un cartel avisando de controles (muy astuto):

  26. (Lucky) Jim Collings - September 19, 2010

    #sneaky US Narcotics Interdiction checkpoints:

  27. RikkiB - September 20, 2010

    Louisiana police employ false advertising

  28. Aussie Drug Tests - September 20, 2010

    Cops put up fake drug-search roadblock sign to trick drivers into exiting into real drug-search trap:

  29. DeviantGlobalization - September 22, 2010

    Dope fiend honeypot: via @boingboing

  30. havokinthemind - September 24, 2010

    What an idea sirji – "Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints | 420 Tribune" ( )

  31. Von Glitschka - October 4, 2010

    Interesting read.

  32. Simple Possession of Marijuana | 420 Tribune - August 12, 2011

    […] 12, 2011 0 Comments Couldn’t the cop have given the kid a break? It was 4/20 after […]

  33. [PHOTO] Fake Narcotics Checkpoint Sign a Ruse | Patrol Log - October 11, 2012

    […] Narcotics Interdiction Checkpoints [via 420Tribune] […]

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