CA9: Apparent drugs found in TSA screening were reasonably seized

The contents of defendant’s suitcase alerted TSA screeners that something was awry. When his suitcase was opened, there were two vacuum sealed bags inside that were obviously drugs – “a layperson would readily ascertain that the packages in Green’s suitcase contained illicit drugs” – a “single purpose container.” The district court’s suppression order is reversed. That was based in part on the allegedly discredited theory that contact with fentanyl was often lethal, so there were safety concerns. The court of appeals declines to go there. United States v. Green, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 10055 (9th Cir. Apr. 25, 2024).

“In the present case, Garcia-Bengochea alleges Defendants used excessive force when they stopped him to investigate his identity as a parole fugitive and effectuate his arrest. He does not allege Defendants used excessive force against him as officers subjecting a prisoner to punishment, as officers in control of an arraigned pre-trial detainee, or in any other post-arrest circumstances. As a result, Garcia-Bengochea’s § 1983 claim is properly evaluated only as an alleged violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.” And, the right claimed is not clearly established. Garcia-Bengochea v. Utah Dep’t of Corr., 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74662 (D. Utah Apr. 23, 2024).*

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