Getting hired to perform work on a military base may be a good opportunity for residents of the Pittsburgh area, but readers should be aware that the normal rules of police procedure and privacy rights may change once they get there. That may have come into play in the arrest of two men at the Air Force Reserve base near Pittsburgh on suspicion of drug possession. The men's vehicle was searched after a guard at the base claimed that he smelled marijuana in their vehicle.
The suspects, both residents of Allegheny County, were roofing contractors hired to do work on the base. After working the morning of Jan. 7, the men drove off the base for lunch. When they returned, they were met at the gate by a guard who believed he smelled marijuana odor coming from their van.
The guard stopped the vehicle and called police, who conducted a search of the van. They did not find any drugs in the vehicle but claimed that two empty plastic baggies smelled of marijuana. They also said they found a metal pipe. Officers say that one of the suspects voluntarily confessed to smoking marijuana and gave them a joint from his pocket.
The men were arrested and later charged with misdemeanor drug crimes, including possession of drug paraphernalia. The man who allegedly had the joint in his pocket was charged with marijuana possession. While the charges are relatively minor, they could lead to significant punishments if they are found guilty, especially if they have prior convictions on their records. Anyone facing drug charges should consider hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent their legal rights in court.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Two men working at Air Force Reserve base face drug charges," Molly Born, Jan. 21, 2013