Was It a Probable Cause to Search the Vehicle In Hope of Obtaining Evidence of Defendant's Involvement In Drug Sale

In People v. Brown, the Appellate Division Third Department considered a similar set of facts as those in the instant case. 547 N.Y.S.2d 909 (3 Dept. 1989). In that case the police were investigating Brown and his involvement with two other suspected drug traffickers. Id. at 200. The defendant, who was also a suspected drug dealer, was observed visiting these suspected drug dealers at a local hotel the day before his arrest. Id. The defendant and one of these other suspects was observed leaving the hotel and heading in the direction of another marijuana dealer. Id. Upon their return to the hotel, the police observed what they believed was a drug transaction. Id. The two suspected dealers were later stopped by the police and marijuana and a gun was found in their vehicle. Id. Defendant later left the hotel with two briefcases and left in his vehicle. Id. The police determined, through a computer check that the defendant's license was revoked. Id. The police stopped the defendant's vehicle and arrested him for unlicensed operation "hoping to obtain further evidence of defendant's involvement in the drug sale." Id. After the defendant's arrest the briefcases were found within the vehicle but the defendant refused to consent to a search.Id. The police obtained consent from the car's owner, the defendant's sister, and a search of the vehicle revealed one briefcase loaded with money. Id. The trial court refused to suppress the money finding probable cause to arrest the defendant and a valid consent by the defendant's sister. Id. The 3rd Department affirmed and found that there was probable cause to search the vehicle.