Law enforcement officers including Texas Rangers took part in a search of the Wichita Falls deputy city manager’s home that led to the seizure of undisclosed amounts of marijuana and evidence that the drug was being cultivated on the property. Media reports reveal that the man tendered his resignation after learning about the May 28 search of his Wendover Street residence. Wichita County District Attorney’s Office investigators also took part in the multi-agency operation.
The investigation into the man’s alleged activities began in April when a confidential informant told members of the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office Drug Enforcement Division that marijuana plants were being grown in the man’s home. The informant is said to have told investigators that he stepped forward despite believing that the man would not be prosecuted because he was a senior city official.
Before seeking a search warrant, narcotics investigators gathered evidence by searching trash placed outside the house. The first trash pull, which took place on April 15, reportedly revealed a plastic bag containing plant residue that was later identified as marijuana. Four subsequent trash pulls were conducted in May. Despite the seizure of marijuana and the discovery of evidence of drug use and cultivation, the man has not been charged with any drug crimes according to media reports.
Lawyers may advise people to not place any items that could incriminate them in the trash. In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in California v. Greenwood that police officers did not violate Fourth Amendment protections when they conducted a warrantless search of trash left outside a suspect’s home. This means that trash left on the street outside a home or in areas surrounding a property known as curtilage may be searched without a warrant.
Source: The Times Record News, Deputy City Manager Jim Dockery resigns after search warrant turns up marijuana at home, Claire Kowalick and Trish Choate, May 31, 2019Source: FindLaw, California v. Greenwood