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State v. Salcido

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

November 16, 2015

The State of Arizona, Appellee,
v.
Michael Anthony Salcido, Appellant.

Appeal from the Superior Court in Gila County No. S0400CR201400106 The Honorable Monica Stauffer, Judge

Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General Joseph T. Maziarz, Section Chief Counsel, Phoenix By David A. Sullivan, Assistant Attorney General, Tucson Counsel for Appellee

Emily Danies, Tucson Counsel for Appellant

Judge Howard authored the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Vásquez and Judge Kelly [1] concurred.

OPINION

HOWARD, JUDGE.

¶1 Following a jury trial, appellant Michael Salcido was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, and transportation or importation of dangerous drugs for sale. On appeal, Salcido argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained at a traffic stop because the officer lacked reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation. Because the state concedes that two of Salcido's convictions violate double jeopardy, and we agree, we vacate Salcido's convictions for possession and possession for sale of dangerous drugs, but otherwise affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

¶2 In reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress, "we consider only the evidence presented at the suppression hearing and view the facts in the light most favorable to sustaining the . . . ruling." State v. Gonzalez, 235 Ariz. 212, ¶ 2, 330 P.3d 969, 970 (App. 2014).

¶3 In March 2014, Detective Danny Rice of the Gila County Sheriffs Department received an anonymous tip from a "concerned citizen" that Salcido and another person would be driving through Miami, Arizona in a particular vehicle with a large quantity of methamphetamine. Based on this information, Rice began surveillance along the route that the informant had stated Salcido would be taking. Within four hours, Rice spotted Salcido's vehicle and began to follow it. Salcido was in the number one, or fast lane, and Rice was in the number two, or slow lane, about a car length behind him. Salcido immediately moved unsafely from the number one into the number two lane without signaling, cutting off Rice, and rode on the shoulder over the fog line for ten to twelve seconds before driving back across lane two into lane one. Rice then stopped Salcido for the violations.

¶4 Shortly thereafter, other detectives arrived on the scene, one of whom was accompanied by a drug canine. Rice asked Salcido to consent to an open air sniff of his vehicle by the drug canine, and Salcido agreed. During the sniff, the canine alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, and the officers conducted a follow-up search. They discovered several items used to ingest drugs-a plastic straw and pieces of aluminum foil with a "burnt residue" on them. Rice consequently arrested Salcido for possession of drug paraphernalia. During the search incident to that arrest, Rice found approximately three ounces of methamphetamine and $905 cash in Salcido's pockets.

¶5 Before trial, Salcido moved to suppress the drug evidence, arguing it was the fruit of an illegal traffic stop. The trial court denied the motion. The jury convicted Salcido of the possession and transportation counts, but found him not guilty of money laundering. The court sentenced him to mitigated, concurrent prison terms, the longest of which is five years. We have jurisdiction over Salcido's appeal pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21(A)(1) and 13-4033(A)(1).

Legality of the Traffic Stop

¶6 Salcido first argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence because, even assuming Rice's testimony regarding Salcido's driving was accurate, his conduct did not constitute a traffic violation. "We review a denial of a motion to suppress for an abuse of discretion, but review constitutional issues de novo, " Gonzalez, 235 Ariz. 212, ¶ 7, 330 P.3d at 971, and "[i]nterpretation of a statute is a question of law, which we review de novo, " State v. Starr, 222 Ariz. 65, ¶ 14, 213 P.3d 214, 218 (App. 2009).

¶7 A traffic stop must be based on an officer's articulable, reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a traffic violation. Id. ΒΆ 11 . As ...


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