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Hughes v. Commonwealth (2000) – Case Brief Summary (Virginia)

In Hughes v. Commonwealth (31 Va. App. 447, 524 S.E.2d 155 [2000]), the police received a tip from a known and reliable informant that the defendant had been selling drugs at a particular location and that he stored his money in his left pocket and his drug supply in his "underwear area."

When a strip search yielded no contraband, the defendant was directed to bend over to expose his anus and cough. When Hughes coughed, the officer saw "a plastic bag protruding" from the defendant's anus. The officer, using gloves, removed a bag of cocaine from the defendant's anal cavity.

The Virginia Court of Appeals, applying the Schmerber v. California analysis, suppressed the drugs because the police did not have a "clear indication" that contraband had been concealed in that area.

The known informant, who provided the police with reliable information about the presence of the money in the defendant's pocket, had said only that drugs would be found in the defendant's "underwear area." He did not say anything about the presence of drugs in Hughes' anus. (Hughes v. Commonwealth, 31 Va. App. at 460, 524 S.E.2d at 162.)