S.D.W.Va.: Helicopter flyover of curtilage at 500′ was reasonable

A helicopter flyover of the curtilage at 500′ was within FAA regulations and thus was reasonable. Defendant’s racing to the spot of the grow operation was exigency for fear he was on his way to destroy evidence. United States v. Randolph, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42630 (S.D.W.Va. Mar. 9, 2022).

“There was more than a fair probability that evidence of a crime would be found in Carrender’s car. The officers knew that Carrender had a prior history of manufacturing methamphetamine. The informant’s tip about the drug deal was confirmed when officers identified the location of the motel room, identified Carrender as the occupant, and discovered a large amount of methamphetamine in a truck whose driver had just left the room. … Carrender acted suspiciously once stopped, as if trying to hide something. And he had a bag in his car with cash sticking out, which the officers associated with drug trafficking. Add it all up and the officers had good reason to believe that Carrender would be in possession of methamphetamine.” United States v. Carrender, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 6160 (6th Cir. Mar. 8, 2022).*

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