A Missouri man was taken into custody on drug distribution and child endangerment charges on July 16 after police officers allegedly discovered his 6-year-old son sleeping on a couch just inches from dangerous drugs. The discovery prompted the O’Fallon Police Department to call in investigators from the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force and federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Initial media reports suggest that the man will be prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in a federal court.

Careless driving prompts an investigation

The arrest occurred while officers were investigating reports of felony leaving the scene of an accident and endangering the welfare of a child. Police went to the man’s home after they saw his GMC SUV strike several mailboxes. After meeting the man in his driveway, they determined he was impaired by drugs. The officers say that they decided to investigate further when the man’s 3-year-old son told them that his 6-year-old brother was inside the home.

Residence search leads to drug seizure

When officers entered the home to search for the boy, they claim to have noticed capsules scattered around that they believed were being used to store drugs. After a warrant had been obtained to conduct a more thorough search, officers allegedly found 731 capsules containing substances believed to be fentanyl and heroin.

Challenging police searches

An experienced criminal defense attorney could argue that the fruits of a law enforcement search should be ruled inadmissible and drug charges dismissed if police officers went beyond restrictions imposed on them by the issuing magistrate or judge. The lawyer could also advise a defendant being investigated by the police to refuse requests to conduct warrantless searches.