New Mexico’s top court upholds drug search, seizure

January 3, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Curry County man Thursday on drug trafficking charges by reversing an appeals court ruling about how state police obtained evidence from the defendant’s car.

The Supreme Court found that a state police officer reasonably suspected that he had witnessed drug sales by Mikel Martinez at a Clovis gas station before pulling over the car and finding a baggie of white powder by the rear tire.

That led to a search of the car by warrant that uncovered methamphetamine, marijuana, a scale, cash and drug paraphernalia.

The state Court of Appeals in 2017 ruled the pullover an improper investigative stop. The Supreme Court ruling from Chief Justice Judith Nakamura determined that the stop was conducted properly by State Police Officer Donald Garrison based on investigative experience and that evidence was properly submitted to a jury.