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State of Idaho v. Kelo Ronon Smoke

October 18, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KELO RONON SMOKE,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Michael R. McLaughlin, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gutierrez, Judge

2012 Unpublished Opinion No. 680

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Judgment of conviction and unified sentence of fifteen years, with four years determinate, for trafficking in methamphetamine, affirmed.

Kelo Ronon Smoke appeals from his judgment of conviction entered upon his conditional guilty plea to trafficking in methamphetamine. Specifically, he appeals the denial of his motion to suppress and argues his sentence is excessive. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

On a late evening in December 2010, an officer stopped a pickup truck with canceled registration and fictitious license plates. Smoke, the driver, immediately exited the vehicle and, ignoring the officer's commands to stop, took flight on foot. Additional officers were called to assist and Smoke was eventually apprehended and arrested.

Upon returning to the vehicle, officers deployed a drug-detection dog on the outside of Smoke's vehicle, and the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics near the passenger-side door.

Inside the truck, officers found a black bag containing fifty-four grams of methamphetamine, as well as drug paraphernalia.

Smoke was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, Idaho Code § 37-2732B(a)(4), and possession of a controlled substance, I.C. § 37-2732(c). He moved to suppress the evidence found in his vehicle, arguing the search of his vehicle subsequent to his arrest was unconstitutional. Following a hearing, the district court denied the motion, finding the search was valid under the automobile exception because the drug dog alert provided independent probable cause that drugs were in the vehicle. Smoke entered a conditional guilty plea to the trafficking charge, preserving his right to appeal from the denial of his suppression motion, and the State dismissed the possession charge. The district court entered a judgment of conviction and imposed a unified sentence of fifteen years, with four years determinate. Smoke now appeals the denial of his motion to suppress and his sentence.

II. ANALYSIS

Smoke contends the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the search of his vehicle was unconstitutional. He also ...


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