Jul 7th, 2019 Update:

Islands’ Sounder Goodbye Guss — San Juan County K-9 returned to kennel

“Krebs hopes having a K-9 on staff will help locate drugs on traffic stops and prevent drugs from coming off ferries and into the community.”


The Island’s Weekly Apr 16th, 2018: Town Hall meeting covers drug crisis

Looks like newspeople didn’t show up to ask any questions- so we’ll ask a few here.

“Anacortes law enforcement has agreed to provide the use of their drug dog at Anacortes Ferry Terminal when San Juan officers request it.”

What would be screened? Walk-on passengers? Commercial vehicles? Private automobiles?

“Krebs has requested Washington State Patrol to reinstate a drug dog on the ferries.”

Reinstate? Any history of the Washington State Patrol using drug dogs to make any arrest or drug seizure at Washington State ferry terminals?


Mixed messages:

ABC News Nov 2000: Justices Strike Down Drug Checkpoints

“The court was not swayed by the argument that the severity of the drug problem in some city neighborhoods justified the searches.”

KSN News Jul 2015: Drug check lanes pop up north of Wichita

“I can’t comment on the checkpoint being run by the Kansas Highway Patrol,” said Dehning. “But our deputies still need reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle just as they would for any other vehicle stop. Participating in an operation like that does not relieve our deputies of that responsibility/requirement.”

“Dan Monnat explains, if you get pulled over in a drug check lane, you do have rights. He says you do not have to consent to a search of your car.”


Reason May 2015: The Border Patrol’s Unconstitutional Drug Dragnet

In City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, the Court said that city’s police violated the Fourth Amendment when they set up checkpoints aimed at catching drug traffickers. “We have never approved a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing,” the Court said. “Because the primary purpose of the Indianapolis narcotics checkpoint program is to uncover evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing, the program contravenes the Fourth Amendment.”



Juneau Empire March 25, 2018: Coast Guard, partners, search ferries for drugs, explosives

“Dykens said the opioid epidemic has been a motivating factor in wanting to do these searches, as it’s a nationwide issue that has reached Alaska. This search, he said, is one of the ways to see how much the ferry system is used to traffic these drugs.”

“These kinds of searches happen from time to time, and Dykens said they keep the timing of them as random as they can.”


Washington State-

State and local law enforcement agencies do not conduct suspicionless checkpoints in Washington State. Check other states here:

Sobriety Checkpoint Laws


Washington State Ferries-

“Washington State Patrol teams, or teams of officers, may be walking among vehicles in the holding lanes for the purpose of ensuring illegal explosive materials are not taken aboard. These teams may be accompanied by explosive-detection canines. The dogs are trained to detect explosive materials only.”



“First Things First: What’s the Reason for the Stop?”

Dog or no dog, police must have a legitimate reason for pulling you over. In other words, police need to have reasonable suspicion that the driver—or someone else in the car—has violated the law. A minor traffic violation such as speeding or running a red light will normally suffice. Traffic stops without valid justification, however, are illegal. Typically, all evidence police find following an illegal detention will be inadmissible in court—including drugs discovered by a drug-sniffing dog. (Learn more about how the “exclusionary rule” applies to illegal police searches.)”


Nolo: Can the Police Use a Dog to Sniff a Car for Drugs Without a Warrant?

Police dog sniffs during lawful traffic stops are legal under the Fourth Amendment to the federal constitution (though state constitutions might provide otherwise). (Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U. S. 405 (2005).)”


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Photo- Keystone ferry inbound.