Federal agents and state and local law enforcement routinely run drug detection dogs over packages and letters sent via the U. S. Mail and other private carriers such as UPS and FedEx. When a dog alerts on a package police frequently obtain an anticipatory search warrant. The affidavits for the warrants generally request that the search warrant can be executed if the person the packaged is addressed to accepts it at their home or business.
In a recent Sixth Circuit case, the warrant specifically indicated that it could be executed once the package was received by the defendant at his home. The officer executing the warrant neglected to read it and instead delivered the package to a woman at the home.
After the defendant was indicted for drug trafficking he moved successfully to suppress the evidence found at his home because the triggering condition in the anticipatory warrant - delivery to the defendant - never occurred. The trial court agreed and suppressed the evidence and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed finding that the Fourth Amendment had been violated where the specific condition never occurred.
Experienced and aggressive federal criminal defense attorneys review all affidavits and search warrants for constitutional flaws. Even when more traditional reasons for suppression are not readily apparent, experienced criminal lawyers are willing to be creative and search for any plausible reason to suppress.