Mr. Preciado was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend. As they entered Illinois they passed an Illinois State Police trooper. The trooper was a drug interdiction specialist. That means he was trained in searching for vehicles that may be trafficking in narcotics. The vehicle Mr. Preciado was in had Nevada license plates. That was one element the trooper looked for when stopping vehicles. He claimed to have witnessed the vehicle commit two Improper Lane Use violations and one Following Too Closely violation. After stopping the vehicle he claimed to have detected an odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle. He told the occupants that he was going to conduct a search of the vehicle based upon his detection of the scent. He searched the vehicle and discovered a large amount of methamphetamine inside the vehicle.
Mr. Preciado hired me. The co-defendant hired a local firm that has only conducted a few successful jury trials and doesn't specialize in drug trafficking defense. The co-defendant plead out for a six year prison term upon advice from his attorney. I took my time gathering all discovery we were entitled to receive. I reviewed the dash cam footage and immediately concluded that Mr. Preciado would most likely win a motion to suppress evidence. He was facing 9-40 years in prison if convicted of the charge. I filed the motion and conducted the hearing. We won and the case was dismissed.
Mr. Preciado will now attempt to gain his property back that is the subject of forfeiture in Madison County. I believe he will win that case as well.
The co-defendant's attorney didn't put the necessary time into his client's case and his client paid the price with a 6 year prison sentence. I see this scenario a lot in this area of the State. I don't know why attorneys tell clients to plead without doing all the work required to make an informed decision. Maybe the attorney didn't recognize the good issues to pursue with such a motion. Maybe he didn't know how to properly contest the vehicle. stop. I wish the co-defendant had retained competent counsel as he would not be in prison serving a sentence on a case he would have won.