(credit: Omar Bárcena)

A judge in Southern California has ruled that a recent federal agents’ search of a man’s cellphone as he was crossing into the United States was entirely lawful.
The case, known as United States v.

Caballero, involves a man who was driving into the US from Mexico and attempted to cross the border at Calexico (Imperial County) on September 28, 2015. While at the checkpoint, a dog alerted agents to the presence of narcotics on the man’s car.

The government is now accusing Sergio Caballero with importation of more than 33 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.75 pounds of heroin inside the gas tank.
The government brought the criminal case that same day. However, approximately two months later, Caballero’s public defender attempted to suppress the search of the phone, which revealed a photograph of a large amount of cash.

The defense attorney, Nathan Feneis, argued that the search of his client’s phone was illegal under the Supreme Court decision Riley v.

California.

That 2014 decision found that law enforcement generally does not have the right to search a phone belonging to someone who is arrested without a warrant.
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