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Name: United States v. Valdes-Vega
Case #: 10-50249
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/24/2013

Officers on roving border patrols may conduct brief investigatory stops where they have reasonable suspicion that the driver of a vehicle is involved in criminal activity. Defendant’s vehicle was stopped by Border Patrol Agents just north of the Temecula border checkpoint on I-15. Police performed a consent search of his vehicle and cocaine was found. He challenged the stop on Fourth Amendment grounds. Held: Affirmed. Reasonable suspicion is a commonsense concept that deals with the practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable persons operate and make decisions. Here, two experienced Border Patrol agents observed a truck with Mexican license plates driving in an suspicious manner in an area frequented by smugglers. Defendant was speeding, changing lanes without signaling, cutting off other drivers, and altered his manner of driving as he approached the border checkpoint. This behavior was consistent with that exhibited by smugglers. Other factors supporting reasonable suspicion included the proximity to the border and the location of the stop—the last checkpoint on I-15, which is often used by smugglers. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the stop was supported by reasonable suspicion.