Appeals Court OKs Warrantless GPS Tracking of Suspected Pot Growers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has again rejected the appeal of a man who says his rights were violated when the DEA placed a mobile electronic tracking device on his vehicle to monitor his movements.

In January, I reported on the case of Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon man who government agents “noticed” purchasing fertilizer and other supplies from a Home Depot. They DEA followed him home and “over a four-month period, agents repeatedly monitored Pineda-Moreno’s Jeep using various types of mobile tracking devices,” according to court documents in the case. “Each device was about the size of a bar of soap and had a magnet affixed to its side, allowing it to be attached to the underside of a car.”

The court upheld it’s guilty verdict of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture against Pineda-Moreno in January. Pineda-Moreno was seeking to suppress evidence collected against him by the feds on the grounds that it violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches, according to Reuters:

A three-judge panel of the appellate court in January rejected Pineda-Moreno’s claims and ruled that his constitutional rights were not violated. The court this month rejected a petition by Pineda-Moreno for a rehearing of his case by the full Ninth Circuit panel of judges.

The appellate court’s ruling essentially gives law enforcement agencies in the nine Western states under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction the legal authority to surreptitiously enter personal property and attach a GPS tracking device on vehicles parked there without first obtaining a warrant.

A dissenter the ranks, Judge Kozinski, remarked that most American citizens don’t expect that a vehicle parked in their driveway “invites people to crawl under it and attach a [tracking]device. There is something creepy and un-American about such clandestine and underhanded behavior.”

Couldn’t agree with the Judge more.

The case is expected to be appealed in the US Supreme Court.

Jeremiah Vandermeer
Jeremiah Vandermeer

Jeremiah Vandermeer is Cannabis Culture Chief of Operations and Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine & Pot TV.