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April 2000

Volume 69
Number 4
United States
Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of
Washington, DC

Louis J. Freeh
Director Features
Contributors' opinions and
statements should not be
considered an endorsement by
the FBI for any policy, program,
or service. Clandestine Drug Labs Officers must remain aware of the
The Attorney General has
determined that the publication
By Guy Hargreaves 1 potential danger they may encounter
when investigating clandestine drug
of this periodical is necessary in laboratories.
the transaction of the public
business required by law. Use of
funds for printing this periodical Labeling Automobile With the help of a small label
has been approved by the
Director of the Office of Parts to Combat Theft 10 manufacturers place on automobile
parts, investigators can better combat
Management and Budget. By Peter Finn automobile theft and automobile parts
The FBI Law Enforcement theft.
Bulletin (ISSN-0014-5688) is
published monthly by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Interview Challenge The FBI has a new way for law
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C.
20535-0001. Periodical postage
By Owen Einspahr 16 enforcement officers to enhance their
interviewing skills.
paid at Washington, D.C., and
additional mailing offices.
Postmaster: Send address Proving Guilty Knowledge Convicting suspects of drug possession
changes to Editor, FBI Law
Enforcement Bulletin, FBI
Academy, Madison Building,
By Edward M. Hendrie 22 depends on proving that the suspects
knew that they possessed drugs.
Room 209, Quantico, VA 22135.

John E. Ott
Managing Editor Departments
Kim Waggoner
Associate Editors
Glen Bartolomei 7 Perspective 21 Book Review
Cynthia L. Lewis
Bunny S. Morris
Policing in a Global Society Criminal Investigation
Art Director Handbook: Strategy,
Brian K. Parnell 15 Bulletin Reports Law, and Science
Assistant Art Director Computers and the Sexual
Denise Bennett Smith
Exploitation of Children
Staff Assistant
Linda W. Szumilo
Successful Adjudication
Internet Address

Cover Photo
© Digital Stock

Send article submissions to

Editor, FBI Law Enforcement
Bulletin, FBI Academy, Madison
Building, Room 209, Quantico,
VA 22135.

ISSN 0014-5688 USPS 383-310

Drug Labs
Chemical Time

he dramatic increase in the Raiding a clandestine drug lab-

Two suspects in a San Diego,
California, hotel room died of
poison phosphine gas fumes
while manufacturing metham-
T seizures of clandestine
methamphetamine (meth)
laboratories nationwide has created
a dangerous situation for private
oratory (clan lab) has become one
of the most dangerous operations a
law enforcement officer can under-
take. Officers sometimes refer to
phetamine. Four police officers
responding to the emergency
citizens and law enforcement offi- clan labs as “chemical time bombs”
call were overcome by fumes cers alike. Today, encountering because they contain highly flam-
and hospitalized. hazardous chemicals remains no mable and explosive materials, le-
less dangerous than pursuing an thal chemicals, and even mechani-
In Aguanga, California, three
children died and their mother armed suspect. cal or chemical booby traps. Law
received critical burns from an Police officers receive compre- enforcement has found these make-
explosion caused by a clandes- hensive training in many areas of shift laboratories in apartments, ho-
tine drug lab operation in a law enforcement. However, very tel rooms, mobile homes, outdoor
trailer house. few officers have expertise in sites, and in all types of vehicles. As
A woman manufacturing firefighting, chemistry, bomb han- a result, an officer may inadvert-
methamphetamine in Kansas dling techniques, and hazardous ently come into contact with such a
City, Kansas, was killed when a waste disposal. Unfortunately, ille- laboratory when responding to a do-
drug laboratory ignited and gal drug laboratories pose deadly mestic violence call or even while
burned down the house. threats in all of these areas. making a traffic stop.

April 2000 / 1
Since 1995, police records indi- In 1999, more than 99 percent time. The Drug Abuse Warning
cate that at least three meth labora- of the clan labs seized by DEA were Network indicates that emergency
tory suspects are killed in clan lab meth labs. Other illicit drugs like room episodes increased from
explosions or by poison chemical PCP, MDMA, and LSD are manu- 4,900 in 1991 to approximately
incidents each year, with many factured in clan labs, but because of 17,000 in 1997, an increase of 247
more receiving serious burns or the large percentage of clan labs percent.2
other injuries from clan lab fires. that produce meth, and its close as- Concurrently, law enforcement
Likewise, an increase has occurred sociation with violent crimes, law seizures of meth and meth laborato-
in the number of reported injuries to enforcement investigations have fo- ries also have increased. In 1999,
untrained police officers who inves- cused on meth clan labs in recent the DEA participated in the seizure
tigate or dismantle clan labs.1 years. of a record high 1,948 clan labs, the
In addition, reports of property vast majority (99 percent) of which
damage and injuries to citizens The Methamphetamine were meth labs. For comparison
from drug laboratory disasters have Problem Today purposes, this number was 306 in
increased throughout the nation. In Experts considered meth a 1994—representing a 537 percent
fact, several apartment complexes West Coast problem until 1995, increase in just 5 years. In addition,
and a luxury hotel have burned when meth production and abuse state and local law enforcement of-
down as the result of these illegal began to sweep eastward across the ficers raided more than 4,400 such
laboratory activities. For example, Midwest to the Southeast. In Mis- labs in 1999. In fiscal year 1999,
in 1997, Kansas City, Missouri, au- souri, meth laboratory seizures in- DEA arrested 8,680 people for meth
thorities reported fires on an almost creased from 2 in 1992 to more than trafficking—a 113 percent increase
monthly basis that originated from 600 in 1998. In Iowa, some local over fiscal year 1996 arrests.3
the operation of meth labs or the police departments have reported The violence associated with
storage of precursor chemicals. In that meth-related arrests have sur- this powerful stimulant has had a
Independence, Missouri, the police passed drunk driving arrests. devastating impact on many com-
chief reported in an interview that at Statistics demonstrate that meth munities in the West and Midwest.
least five deaths have resulted from use and availability have dramati- Television viewers nationwide
clan meth lab fires since 1995. cally increased in a short period of watched live footage of a paranoid
meth addict who stole an armored
tank from a National Guard armory
and went on a car-crushing rampage

in the San Diego area. Another meth
addict in New Mexico beheaded his
Today, son after experiencing hallucina-
encountering tions in which he believed his son
was the devil. In Contra Costa
hazardous County, near San Francisco, police
chemicals remains associated meth with 447 cases of
no less dangerous domestic violence in 1997.
than pursuing an In previous decades, experts
armed suspect. viewed meth as “poor man’s co-
caine” and as a drug abused pre-

dominantly by white individuals
with low incomes living in rural ar-
Special Agent Hargreaves serves in the DEA eas. Today, meth abusers are found
Methamphetamine Program, Arlington, Virginia. in all segments of society and re-
gions of the country, including the

2 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

previously untouched eastern re- meth traffickers. Although this Unlike many other synthetic-
gions of the United States, with gang remains active in meth pro- based illegal drugs, it does not take
meth use rivaling cocaine as the duction, they do not produce the a chemist to produce meth. In fact,
drug of choice. Meth remains very large quantities distributed by the fewer than 10 percent of those
popular with young people at night aggressive traffickers from Mexico. arrested for manufacturing meth are
clubs and all-night dance parties Mexican organizations domi- trained chemists. Meth laboratory
called “raves.” Also, some college nate wholesale meth trafficking operators or “cooks” usually are in-
students use meth to stay awake using large-scale labs to produce dividuals who have little or no
and study for exams; athletes may the drug in their own country and chemical training and simply
use it to relieve fatigue; and some the southwestern United States. In learned a formula in prison or from
dieters use it to lose weight. 1999, the DEA estimated that orga- the Internet. These small drug labo-
nized crime groups operating out of ratory operations make importation
Effects of Methamphetamine Mexico and California controlled and interdiction efforts irrelevant
Methamphetamine, a Schedule 80 to 90 percent of meth production when, with easily obtained chemi-
II controlled substance,4 is a central and distribution in the United cals, an individual with the basic
nervous system stimulant and more knowledge of how to cook meth can
potent than amphetamines. It has independently produce thousands

legitimate medical uses for treating of dollars worth of this dangerous
some illnesses such as narcolepsy, drug.
yet it remains a lethal and unpre-
dictably dangerous drug when Raiding a Chemicals Used to
abused. clandestine drug Manufacture Methamphetamine
The effects of meth are similar laboratory has Although the complete list of
to cocaine, with users experiencing become one of the formulas, hazards, and chemicals
a sense of increased energy and eu- most dangerous employed to produce meth remains
phoria, but the duration of the high operations a law extensive, the vast majority of meth
lasts longer—from 6 to 14 hours. laboratories seized today use a com-
Chronic meth abusers usually inject enforcement officer mon ephedrine/pseudoephedrine
or smoke high levels of the drug can undertake. reduction method of manufactur-
every 2 or 3 hours during day-long ing. This method requires a chemi-

binges in which they consume the cal not produced in the United
drug continuously. This often re- States; however, laboratory opera-
sults in the abuser staying awake for tors can find the precursor chemi-
more than a week and experiencing States. While clan labs in California cals needed in many over-the-
extreme irritability from sleep dep- continue to produce more meth counter cold medicines. Some clan
rivation, increased nervousness, than any other region, thousands of lab operators purchase dozens of
anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, independent U.S. traffickers in the bottles of these cold remedies in
and violent or erratic behavior. Midwest, with growing numbers in order to extract the ephedrine or
the Southeast, operate large num- pseudoephedrine from the tablets.
Methamphetamine bers of the smaller “mom and pop” Meth cooks sometimes use a
Production and Trafficking laboratories. formula for production that uses
In 1994, trafficking organiza- Unfortunately for law enforce- two extremely dangerous and
tions based in Mexico began to ment, meth is a very simple drug to highly volatile chemicals—sodium
take control of the production and manufacture. Except for marijuana, metal and anhydrous ammonia. So-
distribution of meth in the United meth remains the most abused ille- dium metal can ignite when it
States. Before this, the Outlaw Mo- gal drug that an individual can make comes into contact with water, and
torcycle Gang remained the primary alone.5 anhydrous ammonia is a deadly

April 2000 / 3
Products Commonly Found in Clan Labs*

Commercial Products Chemicals Hazards

Battery Acid Sulfuric Acid Corrosive Acid

Drain Cleaner

Camera Batteries Lithium Water Reactive

Coleman Fuel Petroleum Distillates Flammable

Lacquer Thinner
Mineral Spirits

Denatured Alcohol Mixture of Alcohols Flammable

Epsom Salts Magnesium Sulfate Nonhazardous

Heet Methyl Alcohol Flammable

Iodine Crystals Iodine Irritant

7 percent Tincture of Iodine

Muriatic Acid Hydrochloric Acid Corrosive Acid

Nonprescription Cold Medicine Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine Nonhazardous

Red Devil Lye Sodium Hydroxide Corrosive Base

Road Flares Red Phosphorous Flammable

Starting Fluid Ethyl Ether Explosive/Flammable

*This reflects only a partial list of products commonly found in clan labs. Officers should remember that any one item
does not indicate the manufacture of methamphetamine.

respiratory hazard. Some clan clan lab raid always should bring a the environment and consequently
labs may even contain chemicals qualified chemist with them. to the health of unsuspecting
such as sodium cyanide, which, if citizens in nearby communities.
accidentally mixed with another Environmental Issues Each pound of meth manufactured
type of chemical found in the same In addition to the risk of explo- in a clan lab generates up to 5 or
lab, can produce a deadly hy- sive gases, chemical contamination more pounds of toxic waste. Clan
drogen cyanide gas. Clearly, law from the hazardous waste of these lab operators routinely dump such
enforcement teams conducting a clan labs poses a serious threat to waste into local streams, rivers, and

4 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

sewage systems in order to cover up DEA special agents and task force Fundamental Rules
the evidence of their illegal opera- officers on how to safely perform of Chemical Safety
tions. Moreover, chemical reactions clan lab raids. Federal regulations Police officers without special-
that occur during the manufacturing now mandate that all federal, state, ized training in the unique types of
of meth produce chemical vapors and local law enforcement officers hazards posed by clan labs never
that can permeate walls, carpets, receive at least 24 hours of training should attempt to investigate or dis-
plaster, and even the wooden struc- on how to handle hazardous chemi- mantle these “chemical time
tures of buildings. cals prior to conducting a clan lab bombs.” Police supervisors must
The average clan lab costs raid. advise their personnel that, if they
$3,000 to clean up. However, large The DEA conducts both state should inadvertently encounter a
production labs, because of the sig- and local certification schools at clan drug lab, they should not touch
nificant quantities of toxic chemi- Quantico, Virginia, and at a training anything, and should secure and
cals and higher hazardous waste site in Overland Park, Kansas. This evacuate the area immediately.
disposal charges, can result in 1-week school qualifies state and Even those officers who have
clean-up costs exceeding $100,000. local police to raid, process, and graduated from a qualified labora-
Annually, the overall cleanup of dismantle clan labs, and it provides tory safety school always should re-
these labs costs the DEA and other instruction on the latest intelligence member some fundamental rules of
government agencies millions of trends, chemical diversion, and clan chemical safety when encountering
dollars.6 lab investigations. a clan drug lab.
In addition, a specialized DEA
Clan Lab Safety Training • Leave the area, secure the
unit frequently conducts in-service
With clan labs, the risk of ex- location, and notify the DEA
training and seminars for law
plosions, fires, and direct contact or a police narcotics unit with
enforcement groups. This unit also
with toxic fumes, poisonous gases, the proper equipment and
provides the annual recertification
and hazardous chemicals always certified personnel.
training mandated by federal
exist. Size does not matter when it regulation. • Do not smoke in or near the
comes to the danger level involved lab.
in a clan lab raid. In fact, the smaller
labs are usually more dangerous
than the larger operations because
the “cooks” are inexperienced
chemists with little regard for
safety. In addition to the physical
danger, police officers who improp-
erly dispose of toxic waste materi-
als also could be civilly liable under
the federal Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act, thus making clan
lab raids an especially risky aspect
of drug law enforcement.
Consequently, any law enforce-
ment officer involved in clan lab
raids must receive thorough train-
ing on safe-handling techniques. To
meet this need, in 1987, the DEA
created a special training unit for

April 2000 / 5
• Never touch, taste, or smell Conclusion
any type of equipment or Without question, the increas- Wanted:
chemicals. ing distribution of methamphet- Photographs
• Always wear the proper safety amine throughout the United States
equipment. by international drug organizations
remains a serious problem for every
• Always read the safety labels
law enforcement agency. This
and warnings on seized
threat, compounded by the increas-
chemical containers; however,
ing number of clan labs operated by
do not rely on these warnings
violent criminal organizations,
as some suspects may switch
coupled with a growing number of
the labels or the containers.
smaller “mom and pop” laborato-
• Do not mix any type of ries, results in an escalating likeli- he Bulletin staff is
chemicals. Some chemicals
will ignite, explode, or pro-
hood that law enforcement agencies
across the country will encounter
T always on the lookout
for dynamic, law enforce-
duce poisonous gas when more clan meth labs. Impetuous in-
combined with other chemi- ment-related photos for
vestigations of these clan drug labs possible publication in the
cals—even contact with water without proper safeguards may
can cause some chemicals to magazine. We are interested
recklessly endanger the lives of law in photos that visually depict
ignite. enforcement officers. the many aspects of the law
• Do not use tools or devices enforcement profession and
that produce sparks or friction Endnotes illustrate the various tasks
(e.g., flash bangs or some 1
Compiled from teletypes and field law enforcement personnel
types of breaching devices). interviews submitted to DEA Operations perform.
Division, Arlington, VA.
• Do not turn light switches on 2
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and
We can use either black-
or off or connect or unplug Drug Information, Drug Abuse Warning and-white glossy or color
electrical devices. The elec- Network; available from; prints or slides, although we
accessed September 10, 1999. prefer prints (5x7 or 8x10).
trical spark could cause an 3
Statistics compiled by DEA, Intelligence
explosion if certain chemicals Section, Domestic Strategic Intelligence Group,
Appropriate credit will be
are present in the atmosphere. Arlington, VA. given to contributing photog-
• Always fully decontaminate
Under the federal Controlled Substance raphers when their work
Act, regulated drugs are divided into categories, appears in the magazine. We
all clothing and equipment known as schedules, according to their effect,
when exiting a lab and remem- medical use, and potential abuse. Schedule II
suggest that you send dupli-
ber to keep the prisoners’ drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, cate, not original, prints as
clothing as evidence because
may lead to severe psychological or physical we do not accept responsibil-
dependence, have a high potential for abuse, ity for prints that may be
a laboratory exam usually can and have a restricted medical use.
detect chemical residues— 5
DEA Operations Division, Methamphet-
damaged or lost. Send your
further evidence of participa- amine Program, Arlington, VA. photographs to:
Compiled by DEA Hazardous Waste
tion in the manufacture of Disposal Unit, Arlington, VA. Brian Parnell, Art
controlled substances. 7
See Tom Manning “Drug Labs and Director, FBI Law
Endangered Children,” FBI Law Enforcement Enforcement Bulletin,
• Ensure that emergency med- Bulletin, July 1999, 10.
ical assistance (e.g., fire FBI Academy, Madison
department, paramedics, Building, Room 209,
life-flight helicopter) remains Quantico, VA 22135.
available prior to executing
the raid. 7

6 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Policing in a Global Society pedophiles, who cross jurisdictional lines in seconds.
By Jeffrey L. Patterson, M.P.A. These jurisdictional problems can occur in any
© Digital Stock community, regardless of its population or geographi-
cal size, but areas with multicultural demographics
and economies oriented toward international com-
merce remain particularly vulnerable. In the United
States, an example of such areas would include New
York City and Washington, DC, as well as communi-
ties along the Pacific Coast and in the Sunbelt.
The system of justice in the United States, which
focuses on territorial jurisdiction, hampers the ability
to police in a global society. Unlike citizens of most
other countries, Americans consider law enforcement
primarily a local concern. While criminal statutes
apply throughout a state, sheriffs have enforcement
powers only within the geographic boundaries of their
respective counties, and city police officers can
conduct investigations and make arrests only for
crimes that occur within their particular municipal

S ociety is becoming increasingly global. Today,

we can travel faster, more easily, more often,
and for less money than ever before. Communications
Through the end of the 19th century, local sher-
iffs and police served adequately because the pre-
dominant focus was to maintain order. Constables on
technology, from cellular telephones to the Internet, patrol chased away undesirables and only arrested the
allows us to make worldwide connections from disorderly individuals or burglars they happened
virtually any location. Many of us commute everyday upon. In rural areas, sheriffs only occasionally left
through sprawling, multicounty, even multistate their courthouses and jails to form posses to track
metropolitan areas. Some of us even fly to and from outlaws. State police, with the power to cross county
distant cities in the same day. lines, did not exist. The U.S. marshals presiding over
These capabilities also can present challenges to western territories represented the only federal law
law enforcement. First, a mobile society may generate
greater opportunities for crime by putting strangers
together in unfamiliar surroundings. The resulting Captain Patterson serves
alienation and anonymity weakens social restraints on with the Clearwater, Florida,
Police Department.
behavior. Second, offenders, victims, and witnesses of
crimes may return or move to another jurisdiction,
complicating cases for investigators and prosecutors.
Extraditing a fugitive, whether from another country
or another state, can prove a complex, drawn out, and
expensive process.
The ease of international travel and the conflicts
in national sovereignty have been factors in high-
profile cases from drug smuggling and terrorism to
traveling serial killers and sexual predators. Now,
computers and the Internet create new varieties of
criminals, from high-tech criminals to online

April 2000 / 7
enforcement agency with the authority to cross state authority remains manifested in either broad powers
lines. in limited geographic areas or limited powers in broad
The need for state constabularies and federal in- geographic areas.
vestigators did not arise until after World War I, when To further address criminal activity that crosses
the automobile gave criminals easy transportation jurisdictional lines, law enforcement then formed
from one community, county, or state to another— multiagency task forces. Members of today’s task
effectively putting them beyond the reach of the local forces likely include representatives from one or more
foot patrol officer and the sheriff’s posse. Soon, the federal, state, county, and local agencies from a
bootleggers of Prohibition and the bank robbers of the particular geographic region. Similar to the state and
Great Depression sped across local boundaries with federal agencies created earlier in the century, while
alarming regularity. For the first time, the limits of their combined territorial jurisdiction remains broad,
local jurisdictions became a major public concern their investigative focus tends to be narrow, limited
in the provision of effective and efficient police by a mutual agreement to a particular crime or class
services. of crime.
In response, law enforcement substantially
changed the way it operated. Police departments LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE
adopted the automobile, telephone, teletype, two-way Today, even the state and federal police agencies
radio, and computer to track the mobile offender. often find their jurisdictions too restrictive, while the
Latent fingerprints and other trace evidence became multiagency task forces may have become as un-
accepted as positive proof of a crime, linking an wieldy as they are ubiquitous. Both were 20th century
unknown suspect to a distant approaches; thus, law enforcement
crime scene (as DNA may become administrators must develop better
in the next century). solutions for the new millennium.
State lawmakers created new
police organizations with state-
wide enforcement powers. Some
provided a full range of police
“ To further address
criminal activity that
crosses jurisdictional
New proposals must provide for
effective, reasonably efficient law
enforcement across jurisdictional
lines and, yet, still preserve
services, such as patrolling, sufficient safeguards against the
conducting investigations, and lines, law enforcement creation of a giant police state and
operating forensic laboratories. then formed maintain concern for local needs.
However, either law or custom multiagency
restricted many state agencies to task forces. Extradition
investigating only specific types To resolve international
of violations. State highway
patrols investigated only viola-
tions of traffic laws; wildlife
officers handled only violations of hunting and
” conflicts over fugitives, the U.S.
State Department, in cooperation
with the U.S. Department of
Justice, has moved away from the traditional extradi-
fishing regulations. tion treaty and toward the broader mutual legal
Similarly, Congress created new federal law assistance treaty (MLAT). The MLAT not only
enforcement agencies. The FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. provides for the arrest and extradition of fugitives, but
Secret Service all have nationwide authority, which also sets procedures for gathering evidence at all
has developed and expanded over the decades to stages of an investigation.1
address new menaces, from bootlegging and counter- Similarly, because individuals frequently travel
feiting to drug smuggling and terrorism. However, across state lines, legislatures should streamline
each agency still specializes only in investigations interstate extradition procedures with today’s rela-
of certain crimes. Thus, the traditional American tively uniform criminal and traffic laws and perhaps
concern over the limitation of government police abolish the whole extradition process outright. Courts

8 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

from one state should not intervene in a prosecution of video teleconferencing proves more convenient and
in the courts of another state. cost effective.
Distance Justice CONCLUSION
Modern telecommunications technology and More than 30 years ago, the President’s Commis-
travel arrangements might allow the process from sion on Law Enforcement and Administration of Jus-
investigation through trial in a single case to take tice lamented the inefficiencies imposed by ancient
place in more than one venue. For several years, political and geographic boundaries. Its members
distance-learning programs have used television, called for better coordination, and even consolidation,
teleconferencing, and the Internet to bring the college of police services throughout the country but con-
classroom experience to students. ceded to the overwhelming legal
Law enforcement should adopt a and political obstacles to true
similar concept of “distance reform.3 Since then, law enforce-
justice.” In fact, many jurisdic-
tions already use videocon-
ferencing to hold preliminary court
appearances for in-custody defen-

Courts from one
state should not
intervene in a
ment has tried to work around
geographic limits by creating new
agencies, establishing joint task
forces, revamping procedures, and
dants, detention hearings for applying new technology. Perhaps
juveniles, and pretrial depositions prosecution in the time has arrived to move
for witnesses. the courts of beyond these obstacles to create a
Although these proceedings another state. transnational jurisdictional para-

normally take place just across the digm more suited to the world of
street, or perhaps across town, they today and tomorrow.
easily could occur across the state, Creating such a paradigm for
the country, or even the globe. law enforcement may seem radical
Americans have grown accustomed to televised legal today. However, as this century progresses, we will
proceedings through regular exposure to national see truly inter-national standards of conduct estab-
cable news and local government access channels. lished because of global commerce and mass media.
Some local governments now experiment with Law enforcement will have to operate more as an
Internet sites that provide for electronic correspon- interstate, if not international, network of accredited
dence, inquiries, access to public records, and appli- professionals, sharing information, resources, and
cations for licenses and permits. Some cities are operations without regard to geopolitical boundaries.
considering the use of real-time, interactive formats to Police will have to make full use of transportation and
allow citizens to participate in town council meetings telecommunications technology at all phases of an
as if they were there in person. investigation and prosecution, yet still provide proper
One effort at multivenue proceedings occurred in safeguards for civil rights and due consideration for
Miami, when Italian and U.S. courts cooperated in the local needs. The results, perhaps, would be a
trial of an Italian citizen accused of murdering a system of criminal justice more suited to the new
Florida revenue agent. Because the defendant would millennium.
have faced the death penalty in the United States, Endnotes
Italy refused to extradite him and instead tried him 1
For additional information on mutual legal assistance treaties, see
there under Italian law. However, because the Stephen P. Cutler, “Building International Cases: Tools for Successful
victim’s widow was too ill to travel overseas, the International Investigations,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, December
Italian judges heard her testimony from a federal 1999, 1-5.
“Italian Justice Transplanted to Miami for Murder Trial,” St.
courtroom in Miami.2 Such cooperation seems even Petersburg (Florida) Times, April 29, 1998, 4(B).
more feasible in the United States, where the states 3.
The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, Washington DC: U.S.
share basic legal and political traditions, and the use Government Printing Office, 1967, 119-123.

April 2000 / 9
Labeling Automobile parts either directly to consumers or
to automobile dealerships or repair
shops for resale to customers.
Parts to Combat Theft During this period, thieves be-
gan to employ numerous clever
By PETER FINN schemes that remain in use today.
© Don Ennis For example, thieves steal, strip,
and abandon a car, and the innocent
owner reports it stolen. The police
eventually recover the car and
cancel the theft record. The thieves
then purchase the frame at an
insurance or police auction, reat-
tach the stolen parts, and sell the
vehicle. Vehicle owners use this
same technique, stripping their own
cars, removing enough parts for
their insurance companies to de-
clare a total loss, then filing a claim
for reimbursement.
In another commonly used
scam, car thieves buy a salvaged car
for its title and vehicle identifica-
tion number (VIN). Stealing the
same model car, they place the VIN
from the salvaged car onto the sto-
len car, which they sell to an unwit-
ting buyer. These examples repre-
sent a small number of the various
techniques car thieves use. Law en-
forcement must make the most of
new strategies developed to combat
these innovative car thieves.

otor vehicle theft repre- abandoned them, resulting in very FEDERAL PARTS-MARKING

M sents a major problem in

the United States. In
1995, motor vehicle1 owners re-
high vehicle recovery rates. In fact,
in many smaller and rural jurisdic-
tions, joyriding remains the pre-
Until recently, automobile theft
investigators, in an attempt to cope
with these types of theft schemes,
ported nearly 1.5 million thefts rep- dominant reason for car thefts.
resenting 1 out of every 139 ve- However, beginning in the 1970s, often had no means of identifying
hicles in the country.2 The theft of substantial numbers of thieves in which vehicles the parts came from,
parts from vehicles poses an even larger cities started stealing cars for if the parts were stolen, or whether a
more common problem, outnum- profit, resulting in fewer recovered VIN actually belonged to the car on
bering vehicle theft 5 to 1.3 cars and more parts missing from which investigators found it. As a
In the 1950s and 1960s, young those recovered. Car thefts in- result, Congress enacted the Motor
adults stole cars, drove them for creased because of a proliferation Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement
a short period of time, and then of “chop shops,” which sell stolen Act of 1984, which directed the

10 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

U.S. Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration data labels help in prosecuting chop
(DOT) to develop a vehicle theft on automobile theft rates based on shop operators and other automo-
prevention standard mandating that information from the FBI’s Na- bile thieves in two respects. First,
automobile manufacturers inscribe tional Crime Information Center the labels encourage the state’s at-
or affix an identifying number or and the DOT’s insurer database.6 torney to file charges because miss-
symbol onto certain parts of passen- Another part of the evaluation ex- ing labels, or ones that do not match
ger cars that the DOT deemed a amined the experiences and opin- the VIN, constitute convincing
high theft risk.4 ions of automobile theft investiga- proof of theft. Investigators can tes-
Manufacturers designed anti- tors regarding the effectiveness of tify that manufacturers place the la-
theft labels5 to trace automobile automobile parts antitheft labels. bels on the vehicles in the factory,
parts to the original vehicle in order which proves that the labels should
to help prove that they were stolen. Do Labels Promote have existed. Furthermore, officers
In addition, because the federal Arrests and Prosecution? believed that fewer cases even have
government and many states made To assess the effectiveness of to go to trial because the suspects
it a criminal offense to remove or antitheft labels, independent re- usually plead guilty as a result of
tamper with the labels, law enforce- searchers conducted telephone irrefutable evidence of theft pro-
ment investigators may seize and interviews with automobile theft in- vided by the labels.
confiscate parts with defaced or vestigators from 47 jurisdictions Second, the labels help pros-
missing labels. In some states, offic- nationwide, which varied in size ecutors win cases because they pro-
ers also may arrest individuals in and type of agency. Seventy-five vide valuable evidence that the ve-
possession of cars or parts with percent of the investigators (30 out hicles or parts were stolen. Some
missing labels. of 40)7 reported that antitheft labels investigators reported that, while
In 1992, Congress enacted the aid officers in arresting individuals not sufficient evidence for a convic-
Federal Anti-Car Theft Act, direct- who steal or sell stolen parts and tion by themselves, antitheft labels
ing DOT to require that manufac- vehicles. that suspects have removed or tam-
turers mark an additional 50 percent Nearly two-thirds of the inves- pered with contribute to securing a
of their remaining automobile mod- tigators (24 of 40) also reported that conviction. In addition, labels help
els by December 1994 regardless of
the vehicle’s theft rate. This act fur-
ther required that the U.S. Depart-

ment of Justice (DOJ) assess the
effectiveness of the parts marking
by 1997, and, if parts marking was Manufacturers
found to inhibit chop-shop opera- designed antitheft
tions and deter motor vehicle theft, labels to trace
extend parts marking to all remain-
ing vehicle lines by December
automobile parts to
1997. the original vehicle
in order to help
THE STUDY prove that they
In response to this mandate, the were stolen.
National Institute of Justice com-
missioned a study to determine
whether antitheft labels have sub-
stantially reduced automobile
thefts. One part of the evaluation
examines the National Highway

Mr. Finn is an associate for Abt Associates Inc., a private
research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a special
officer with the Belmont, Massachusetts, Police Department.

April 2000 / 11
removal represents the most serious
obstacle to identifying the vehicle’s
owner and proving the parts were
There are two main reasons in-
vestigators cannot be certain
whether the labels are missing or
are simply not supposed to be there
in the first place. First, because
some automobile manufacturers do
not redesign parts for a period of
years, the parts remain interchange-
able; therefore, those parts manu-
factured before the parts-marking
legislation took effect were un-
marked legitimately. Second, some
models with factory-installed anti-
theft devices remain exempt from
the label requirement.
investigators identify stolen parts videotaped undercover case involv- Still, most manufacturers use
and provide probable cause for fur- ing a body shop, the owner said, “I adhesive labels for the markings,
ther investigations that can lead to know that I said I would give you which when removed, leave a trace,
prosecution. $500 for that car, but I can give you commonly called a “footprint,” on
only $200 because the parts are the part. When thieves remove these
Do Labels Deter Theft? marked. Now I’m going to have to labels, investigators can use an ul-
Law enforcement investigators go to the trouble of removing the traviolet or “black” light to detect
remained divided about whether an- labels.” the footprint.
titheft labels help deter actual auto- Whether thieves need to spend Despite the reported ease of re-
mobile theft. Officers felt that la- more time to select cars without moving the labels, investigators still
bels provide the greatest deterrent labels or receive less money for the can detect the footprint with a
with chop-shop operators because extra time chop-shop operators verifier or prove that a label was
operators usually will not purchase must take to remove existing ones, mandated. Although thieves can
parts with missing labels or without antitheft labels undoubtedly place a sand and paint over the labels, sea-
proper paperwork. Because many bigger burden on thieves. At the soned detectives know whether a
states give law enforcement agen- same time, some investigators re- part should have a label and can
cies authority to conduct adminis- ported that labels decreased their testify in court that the label was
trative searches of salvage yards investigative burden because if the missing. However, because many
and repair shops without a search label VIN matches the public VIN, departments do not have access to
warrant, owners of these operations then they do not have to look at verifiers, and, even with verifiers,
seldom accept or keep parts without the confidential VIN for further the footprint does not reveal the
labels and frequently report suspi- identification.8 VIN, investigators cannot identify
cious parts because they know they the previous owner or prove that the
can face prosecution for receiving Obstacles to Effective suspect stole the parts.
them. Use of Labels In addition, even when the la-
Even if labels do not deter Several factors hinder the effec- bels exist, most patrol officers make
thieves, they do increase their tive use of antitheft labels. Investi- little or no use of them because they
“cost of doing business.” In one gators reported that the ease of have not been trained to locate the

12 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

labels or to become familiar with may identify stolen cars more ag- make the labels more effective in
which cars even should have labels. gressively if they receive training both deterring and catching thieves.
As a result, few patrol officers refer on which vehicles must have labels,
cars with missing or suspicious la- the location of the labels, and the CONCLUSION
bels to their departments or state officer’s right to seize vehicles with Today, more foreign and do-
automobile theft units for further missing or damaged labels. Al- mestic automobile manufacturers
investigation. though existing manuals list which exist than ever before, each
Over half of the jurisdictions in cars have labels, more comprehen- producing large numbers of
the study reported that the use of sive training would benefit officers. different vehicle makes and models.
counterfeit antitheft labels remains State legislation that makes This constant influx of cars and
the only other significant barrier to tampering with or removing labels a parts poses a unique problem for
making effective use of the current crime could increase the effective- law enforcement officers faced with
labels. Some investigators reported ness of antitheft labels. Without investigating automobile thefts. In-
that thieves now use computer state statutes, investigators can only vestigators must use all available
graphics to manufacture very so- bring charges of possession of sto- resources to combat automobile
phisticated counterfeit labels. How- len property for these activities. theft and automobile parts theft.
ever, over half of the investigators Because only some states prohibit To thieves, automobile parts
who have discovered counterfeit removing a label or possessing a are worth a great deal more than the
labels reported not only that they component part with a removed la- complete car. To counter the num-
rarely encounter them, but also bel, thieves can avoid salvage in- ber of car thefts committed for the
that they can easily recognize spection statutes in their states by parts, Congress enacted legislation
counterfeits. having the cars retitled in another that requires manufacturers to
state that does not require inspec- label certain parts of some models.
Recommendations tions of antitheft labels. As a result, While many investigators agree that
Investigators had several sug- a federal statute requiring a salvage the labels help them identify stolen
gestions for increasing the effec- examination nationwide would vehicles and arrest offenders, a
tiveness of antitheft labels. A large
majority of investigators preferred
that manufacturers stamp VINs on
the component parts instead of
using labels and that they mark
more parts, citing seats and airbags
most frequently. As a substitute for
stamping, a few investigators pro-
posed that label manufacturers de-
velop the technology that will leave
a footprint with the actual VIN if
the label is removed.
Investigators also suggested
two steps that might enhance the
effectiveness of parts marking in
their investigations. First, depart-
ments should provide more system-
atic and frequent training regarding
the labels, which would improve
jurisdictions’ ability to use them ef-
fectively. Moreover, patrol officers

April 2000 / 13
2 6
number of drawbacks remain. Eas- U.S. Department of Justice, Federal
Abt Associates Inc., Cambridge, MA
Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United In 5 of the smaller cities and rural states,
ily removed labels, exemptions to
States, 1995, (Washington DC, 1996), 50. investigators indicated that they did not use
the law, and a lack of proper train- 3
P. Harris and R. Clarke, “Car Chopping, labels to catch thieves because thieves there
ing hamper the effective use of this Parts Marking and the Motor Vehicle Theft steal cars primarily for joyriding, resulting in
worthwhile crime prevention tool. Law Enforcement Act of 1984,” Sociology and the recovery of intact vehicles and VINs.
Social Research 75, no. 4 (1991): 228-331. Accordingly, in order not to skew the results,
By soliciting the opinions of in- 4
The act required manufacturers to label the researchers did not include the data from these
vestigators in the field, the National following passenger car parts: engine; five jurisdictions—and one other small, but
Institute of Justice has taken an im- transmission; both front doors; both rear doors; high-theft area—for the analysis. As a result,
portant first step in improving law hood; both bumpers; both front fenders; deck the number of investigators (40) does not equal
lid, tailgate, hatchback, or sliding or cargo the number of jurisdictions (47).
enforcement’s ability to use every 8
door(s); and both rear quarter panels. Later Located on the door area, the label VIN
means available to stop car thieves. legislation also required labels on the side sticker verifies that the vehicle conforms to all
With the cooperation of automobile assembly of utility vehicles and on the pickup federal laws. The public VIN is visible in the
manufacturers and lawmakers and box, cargo box, or both of light-duty trucks.
windshield area. The location of confidential
Different law enforcement agencies—and VINs varies, but typically they are “hidden” on
the help of a small label, investiga-
even different police officers within the same the frame or the firewall of automobiles.
tors can make a significant impact agency—use different terms to refer to
on an increasing crime problem. component parts’ markings. Some of the terms The author acknowledges the U.S.
include Mylar labels, NHTSA labels, DOT Department of Justice, National
labels, antitheft labels, VIN labels, high-theft Institute of Justice, Contract 96-IJ-CX-
Endnotes line labels, and automobile tails. Investigators
0018 in support of this research
The FBI’s Crime in the United States may refer to the markings as stickers, tabs, project.
defines motor vehicles as autos, trucks, buses, strips, or labels. For purpose of consistency, this
motorcycles, motorscooters, snowmobiles, etc. article refers to them as antitheft labels.

The Bulletin’s
E-mail Address

he FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin staff invites

T you to communicate with us via e-mail. Our
Internet address is
We would like to know your thoughts on
contemporary law enforcement issues. We
welcome your comments, questions, and
suggestions. Please include your name,
title, and agency on all e-mail
Also, the Bulletin is available
for viewing or downloading on a
number of computer services,
as well as the FBI’s home page.
The home page address is

14 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Bulletin Reports

Computers and the Sexual Exploitation of Children

In its ongoing effort to safeguard children, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Preven-
tion has published Portable Guides to Investigating Child Abuse, a series of brochures that address the
issues challenging investigators of child sexual exploitation involving computers. The first section of
this guide reviews the highly predictable behavior patterns of preferential sex offenders and how these
offenders use computers. The second section provides investigative guidelines on establishing the
context, obtaining a search warrant, handling and securing computer equipment, and analyzing the
suspect’s computer. The guide concludes with an examination of the legal principles governing the
search and seizure of computers. Special tools contained in the guide include a glossary of computer
terms, a supplemental reading list, and contact information for organizations and federal agencies that
provide assistance with investigations.
Currently, 12 other titles exist in the Portable Guides to Investigating Child Abuse series: Recog-
nizing When a Child’s Injury or Illness Is Caused by Abuse, NCJ 160938; Sexually Transmitted Dis-
eases and Child Sexual Abuse, NCJ 160949; Photodocumentation in the Investigation of Child Abuse,
NCJ 160939; Diagnostic Imaging of Child Abuse, NCJ 161235; Battered Child Syndrome: Investigat-
ing Physical Abuse and Homicide, NCJ 161406; Interviewing Child Witnesses and Victims of Sexual
Abuse, NCJ 161623; Child Neglect and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, NCJ 161841; Criminal
Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse, NCJ 162426; Burn Injuries in Child Abuse, NCJ 162424; Law
Enforcement Response to Child Abuse, NCJ 162425; Understanding and Investigating Child Sexual
Exploitation, NCJ 162427; and Forming a Multidisciplinary Team to Investigate Child Abuse, NCJ
170020. To obtain these guides or Use of Computers in the Sexual Exploitation of Children, NCJ
170021, contact the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Justice Clearing-
house by telephone at 800-638-8736 or e-mail at

Successful Adjudication Partnerships

The Key Elements of Successful Adjudication Partnerships bulletin, produced by the Bureau of
Justice Assistance (BJA), provides valuable information about the importance of establishing these
partnerships, guidelines for setting up such cooperative efforts, and brief summaries of successful
examples. The many complex problems, such as backlogged dockets, crowded jails, and recidivism
of drug-addicted offenders, have led prosecutors, public defenders, and courts to join together to seek
effective solutions. These formal or informal collaborative efforts bring key justice system agencies
together in multiagency task forces, steering committees, or planning groups to identify problems,
develop goals and strategies for addressing the problems, and oversee implementation plans to manage
or solve the problems. The concept is not new; examples include criminal justice coordinating commit-
tees, drug courts, expedited case management programs, and community justice programs. The
grassroots efforts of local criminal justice leaders committed to improving the operation and effective-
ness of local criminal justice systems have resulted in the creation of most adjudication partnerships.
However, these joint efforts are spreading throughout the United States. For a copy of the bulletin
(NCJ 173949), contact the BJA Clearinghouse at 800-688-4252 or access the BJA Web site at

April 2000 / 15
The Interview Challenge
Mike Simmen
Versus the FBI

n a Wednesday morning, “Tell me what you think happened that I have one.” Then, the agent

O an FBI special agent

spends approximately 1
hour interviewing a local bank’s
on Saturday,” the agent asks. Mr.
Simmen replies, “Well, I think
somebody took the money.” Next,
pointedly remarks, “If you did it,
we’ll find out.” At this, Mr.
Simmen indignantly announces,
loan officer, Mike Simmen, about a the agent says, “Tell me your side of “I’m not going to answer any more
theft from the bank’s automated what happened Saturday.” Mr. questions. This interview is over.”
teller machine (ATM), which oc- Simmen retorts, “What do you Realizing that this approach did
curred the previous Saturday. After mean, my side? Do you think I took not succeed, the agent decides to in-
asking numerous questions, the the money?” The agent reassures terview Mr. Simmen again, using a
agent believes that Mr. Simmen Mike, “Everyone remembers things different approach. How could this
knows more about the theft than his differently, so that’s why we need happen? Thanks to modern technol-
answers convey. The agent decides to get everyone’s perspective.” Mr. ogy, law enforcement officers now
to try a more direct approach. Simmen answers, “I don’t know can enhance their most fundamental

16 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

and important skill, interviewing
individuals, via an interactive com-
puter program that so closely This simultaneous
imitates real life officers may find it visual and aural
difficult to tell the difference. presentation
DEVELOPING realistically
THE PROGRAM simulates a
In 1996, instructors who teach lifelike interview.

interviewing and interrogation at
the FBI Academy met with mem-
bers of the Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity’s Applied Physics Laboratory
(APL) to determine if they could Special Agent Einspahr is an instructor in the Law
Enforcement Communication Unit at the FBI Academy.
create a computer program that
would realistically simulate a hu-
man personality.1 At the time, these
instructors were training record different types of individuals that patterns related to his guilt or
numbers of new agent and FBI investigators encounter. Finally, the innocence and the content of the
National Academy students. They program could not allow users to interview.
needed a system that would allow “beat the system.” FBI instructors Moreover, the APL designed
their students to practice interview- did not want clever students devis- Mike’s “brain” with both logical
ing skills and receive feedback yet ing one set of questions that they and emotional components. The
did not require instructor-moni- could ask in the same order during logical component tracks the re-
tored practice sessions. Primarily, each interview to produce a high sponses and keeps them reasonable
the instructors wanted a program score. Human interviewees prove and consistent. It selects one of a
that would augment and support the more complex than that. series of likely responses to the cur-
training that FBI students receive The APL accepted the chal- rent questions and circumstances,
during their interviewing classes lenge and delivered the completed which affect Mike’s actual status
but that also could act as a stand- software to the FBI in May 1998. (i.e., guilt or innocence) and emo-
alone practice drill to enhance the “Mike Simmen” (i.e., simulated tional state. At the same time, the
interviewing skills of veteran man) was born. Mike may appear emotional component critically im-
officers. talkative and eager to help investi- pacts Mike’s response selection.
The APL faced a challenging gators in one interview but seem While the user’s questions prima-
design proposal. First, the FBI in- busy and defensive in the next. He rily determine Mike’s emotional
structors wanted an interactive, may portray an innocent employee state, the computer randomly se-
self-paced computer program user- in some interviews but, in others, is lects the fluctuations of Mike’s
friendly enough to allow those with guilty of stealing money from an emotional state or “mood,” causing
minimal computer expertise to use ATM. As with many humans, even his answers to change each time the
it with little or no training and en- when he is not the perpetrator, Mike user conducts an interview. For ex-
gaging enough to make students may lie to hide other information ample, depending on Mike’s mood,
want to use it on their own time. that he does not want the user to he may forgive a poorly worded
Second, the computer-simulated in- know. These changes occur because question or become upset and unco-
terviewee needed to display mul- Mike “remembers” the nature of the operative. The user never knows
tiple dispositions interview after in- user’s questions and statements and how Mike will respond from one
terview to emulate the many responds based on typical behavior interview to the next.

April 2000 / 17
USING THE PROGRAM As the questions and Mike’s re- nonverbal clues as truthful or de-
The program includes an online sponses appear in a portion of the ceptive. For example, users must
tutorial to help users learn how to computer screen, users see a full- decide whether Mike’s tone of
use the program and to understand body view of Mike seated in front voice, body posture, and other non-
the scoring system. Also, an online of them and a close-up of his face verbal actions, such as scratching
manual of tips and guidelines helps in another part of the screen. At the back of his neck or avoiding eye
those who want to enhance their the same time, users hear their contact, demonstrate deception. To
interviewing skills. For example, questions followed by Mike’s re- this end, if users have not deter-
the manual reminds users that an sponses. While Mike’s “brain” de- mined Mike’s normal behavioral re-
interview is a conversation with a termines his behavior and re- actions correctly, they may believe
purpose or goal, not just a series of sponses, an actor presents the visual his lies or suspect him when he is
questions. To this end, the manual and audible responses in the video innocent. Also, similar to computer
stresses that users must learn to sequences. This simultaneous vi- and video games, the users gain ex-
evaluate the truthfulness of the in- sual and aural presentation realisti- tra points for successfully identify-
formation they obtain by “reading” cally simulates a lifelike interview. ing these truthful or deceptive clues
both the verbal and nonverbal but have points taken away for in-
indicators of the individuals they correctly judging Mike’s responses.

interview. As experienced inter- This encourages users to remember
viewers know, they must develop important interviewing skills, such
rapport with their interviewees as developing rapport and establish-
Mike may appear ing a baseline of normal behavior
and establish a baseline of what
constitutes an individual’s normal
talkative and eager patterns.
behavior. Without determining an to help investigators
individual’s typical reactions, inter- in one interview but Concluding the Interview
viewers cannot identify deviations seem busy and Unless Mike refuses to answer
from them.2 defensive in the next. any more questions (as he did in the
beginning scenario), users decide

Conducting the Interview when to end the interview. At that
After reviewing the online case time, they must determine whether
study to obtain background infor- Mike was truthful or deceptive. Us-
mation about the crime, users start Unlike an actual interview, how- ers must base their decisions about
the interview by choosing 1 of 14 ever, the program stores the se- Mike’s truthfulness on the complex
different categories, covering such quence of questions and responses combination of information they re-
items as Mike’s personal habits, so that users can replay and reexam- ceived from Mike in response to the
work relationships, or possible in- ine the entire interview at any time questions they asked throughout the
volvement in the crime. Users then until it ends. interview. This often proves chal-
conduct the interview by selecting As the interview progresses, lenging. For example, if users ap-
from an extensive scripted list of skilled interviewers recognize that pear too abrasive in their quest to
questions. As Mike responds to some of Mike’s verbal responses solve the crime, Mike may end the
these inquiries, additional follow- and nonverbal body movements interview when he becomes frus-
up questions appear. Users choose readily indicate guilt or innocence trated. Yet, if users fail to probe
the questions that they feel are most and represent clues to his level of sufficiently, they may find it
appropriate. Simultaneously, the truthfulness. After hearing and ob- difficult to determine Mike’s
program eliminates those questions serving Mike’s responses, users can truthfulness.
that users have asked or those that plan a line of questioning to help Once users decide whether
have lost their relevance. them judge these verbal and Mike appeared deceptive or

18 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

truthful, they must enter their deci- replay and further examination, in-depth interviews during class-
sions. Then, the computer program start a new interview, or exit the room role-plays. Many spend addi-
gives them information about their program. tional time building rapport by de-
interviewing efforts. veloping general conversations
MEASURING THE about nonthreatening topics (e.g.,
Scoring the Interview PROGRAM’S SUCCESS family, education, the weather, or
The program computes a total Since October 1, 1998, all FBI sports); employing more thoughtful
numerical score based on the accu- new agent trainees have used this questioning strategies, such as ask-
racy of the users’ decisions con- interviewing software to augment ing open-ended questions (e.g.,
cerning Mike’s truthfulness, the their classroom instruction.4 Al- What happened? Can you tell me
rapport and investigative values of though not enough time has elapsed what you have heard?); and encour-
the questions they selected, the to calculate any notable benefits, aging conversation by asking fol-
number of questions asked, and the FBI Academy instructors have ob- low-up questions (e.g., And then
number of clues detected correctly. served improvement in the inter- what happened? What else did you
The program has four levels of dif- viewing skills of those who have hear?).
ficulty—beginner, intermediate, used the program. For example, Additionally, FBI instructors
advanced, or professional—and most trainees who have practiced require that new agent trainees use
provides fewer clues at the more with it conduct longer, more the program for two homework
challenging stages.
To illustrate one of these rating
factors, one objective of this pro-
gram involves users’ developing
rapport with Mike and, thus, more Minimum System Requirements
likely to provide reliable informa-
tion. Accordingly, the program The program will operate on a standard, up-to-date desktop or
rates each of the users’ questions or laptop computer that meets the following requirements.
statements on how it contributes to Hardware
this rapport. Positive rapport-build-
ing questions generate positive rap- Graphic card support and screen setting of 1024x768 pixels
port ratings, whereas questions that or more with 16 bit color, 32 megabytes RAM, Pentium
offend Mike contribute to negative Processor 180 MHZ or better
rapport-building scores. However, • Hard Drive Option: 600 megabytes of free disk space
some of the questions that make • CD-ROM Option: 40 megabytes of free disk space,
Mike feel uncomfortable may help 12x CD-ROM
the user determine Mike’s decep-
tiveness and provide important in- Software
vestigative information. Therefore, • Windows 95 Option: Microsoft DirectX 5.2, Microsoft
both rapport and investigative rat- Active Movie 2.0, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0
ings contribute to users’ overall
evaluations. • Windows NT Option: Version 4.0 with service pack 3
Similar to video and computer (contains DirectX 3.0), Microsoft Active Movie 2.0,
games, the program compares us- and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0
ers’ scores and lists the top five3
along with the date they occurred. Law enforcement agencies can obtain a copy of this software at no cost
Users may print a copy of their by contacting the nearest FBI field office.
scores, save the interview for later

April 2000 / 19
assignments. At the beginning of for veteran FBI agents from most realistic interviewing practice via a
training and then near the end, the of the agency’s 56 field offices. self-paced, multimedia computer
trainees must interview Mike, as of- Attendees used this software during program. The resulting user-
ten as they wish within the these seminars and took copies back friendly software gives students and
assignment’s time limit, and submit to their offices for other agents to veteran officers alike experience in
their best score of each of these in- examine. Afterward, the FBI pro- asking appropriate questions and
terviews to their instructor. Finally, vided numerous copies of this soft- distinguishing between deceptive
most of the instructors agree that ware to each of its field offices for and truthful responses. It also pro-
while nothing replaces interviewing distribution to state and local law vides a critique and numerical score
a real subject, this program allows enforcement agencies. Departments for users to compare their level of
students to make mistakes and, can obtain the software at no cost improvement. This creative re-
more important, learn from their by contacting the nearest FBI field sponse to a critical need in the law
mistakes in a supportive instruc- office. enforcement community represents
tional environment. how modern technology can help
officers in their daily struggle to

EXPLORING OTHER successfully solve crimes and safe-
APPLICATIONS guard the communities they are
Such an absorbing and interac- sworn to protect.
tive training tool has a broad range ...the APL
of potential applications. The so- designed Mike’s Endnotes
phistication of the simulation and ‘brain’ with both 1
Prior to this meeting, the APL had
programming of the software makes logical and demonstrated an extremely lifelike, interactive
it a viable candidate for many kinds
of training that require understand-
emotional training computer program to FBI Academy
personnel. Following an assessment to
ing the psychology of human inter- components. determine the area of instruction that would
benefit most from the APL’s assistance, FBI
action. For example, any investiga-

Academy managers chose interviewing because
tive agency could use the basic of its fundamental importance to police work.
approach developed for the FBI to 2
For additional information on conducting
detect deception in a variety of situ- interviews, see, for example, David Vessel,
CONCLUSION “Conducting Successful Interrogations,” FBI
ations, including employment inter- Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1998, 1-6;
views, security investigations, and Solid interviewing skills stand and Michael R. Napier and Susan H. Adams,
insurance claims. However, the pro- as the cornerstone in law enforce- “Magic Words to Obtain Confessions,” FBI
gram also has applications in many ment’s arsenal of crime-fighting Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1998,
other areas. Schools, businesses, weapons. Officers need to sharpen 3
Many users want to know the highest
and community service organiza- these abilities as surely as they must possible score. However, the extensive number
tions could adapt it to teach indi- hone their expertise with firearms. of human variables makes it impossible to
viduals how to respond in specific Accordingly, advanced technology determine or achieve an absolute top score.
Because the software only recently became
situations, such as showing young has provided an innovative and en-
available in sufficient quantities for distribution
people how to resist peer pressure gaging training tool that law en- to state and local law enforcement agencies, FBI
and other unhealthy influences or forcement administrators may want National Academy students began using the
informing supervisors how to in- to explore to help their officers en- program in October 1999.
For complete details about different
teract more effectively with their hance their interviewing skills.
software applications, contact Dale E. Olsen,
employees.5 FBI Academy interviewing in- program development director for law
structors worked with the Johns enforcement programs, Applied Physics
OBTAINING THE PROGRAM Hopkins University’s Applied Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel,
MD; telephone: 443-778-6114 or 240-228-
Early in 1999, the FBI Acad- Physics Laboratory to provide law
6114; e-mail:
emy conducted interview training enforcement professionals with

20 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Book Review

Criminal Investigation Handbook: techniques). Chapter 12 provides Websites,

Strategy, Law, and Science by Thomas P. e-mail addresses, and databases for access to
Mauriello, Matthew Bender and Company, Inc., investigative information and resources. The
New York, New York, 1998. proliferation of the Internet allows anyone with
The Criminal Investigation Handbook is a limited computer literacy immediate access to
comprehensive tool that can assist any law hundreds of worldwide databases to further an
enforcement officer, from rookie patrol officers investigation. Additionally, Chapter 17 discusses
to seasoned federal agents assigned to complex computer forensics as an area of law enforcement
investigations. Directed toward anyone required struggling to keep pace with daily innovations in
to understand the investigative praocess, the computer technology. In today’s society, comput-
Criminal Investigation Handbook enhances the ers have become an instrumentality to many
law enforcement officer’s basic training, pro- different crimes. The Criminal Investigation
vides exposure to new ideas and methods, and Handbook provides necessary guidance in the
serves as a valuable reference for all criminal investigation of an area new to a large number of
investigations. law enforcement officers. The author presents the
Investigative textbooks are often timely and comprehensive information in a manner clear
informative when written, but the Criminal enough for those with limited computer knowl-
Investigation Handbook remains current. In a edge to understand.
unique approach, the author eliminates dated Part III, “Testifying and Use of Evidence in
material through annual updates. Produced in a Court” provides insight to the end result of the
five-ring binder, the Criminal Investigation law enforcement officer’s investigative efforts by
Handbook allows users to easily update informa- offering methods and techniques for successful
tion by inserting new materials and deleting the presentation of evidence and testimony in the
old. Formerly entitled the Police Investigation courtroom. The final section, “Investigation of
Handbook, the Criminal Investigation Hand- Specific Crimes,” details the elements and
book had its ninth revision in 1999. investigative techniques of particular offenses
The handbook not only serves as a practical (e.g., property, sex, white-collar, foreign counter-
guide for each element of an investigation, but it intelligence, and drug-related crimes).
also provides the reasoning behind the need for The Criminal Investigation Handbook
each element. Part I, “General Legal Principles,” provides answers to the basic interrogatives of
details the process involved in the management criminal investigation, as well as the intricacies
of an investigation, elements of proof, basic involved in the successful prosecution of these
rules of evidence, and constitutional principles. investigations. With its annual updates, this book
The reader can easily understand and apply the remains a valuable reference for any law enforce-
presented information. ment officer, and will appeal to anyone respon-
The book addresses every aspect and sible for criminal investigations.
element of a criminal investigation in Part II,
“Criminal Investigation Methods” (e.g., crime Reviewed by
scene preservation, collection and documen- Special Agent G. Joseph Bradley
tation, interview and interrogation, informant Federal Bureau of Investigation
use, and undercover tactics and surveillance Baltimore Field Office

April 2000 / 21
Legal Digest

Proving Guilty Knowledge

Caught Red-Handed
or Empty Headed?
© Mark C. Ide

tate and federal statutes pro- times claim that they did not know are present in the car because the

S hibiting the possession of

contraband, such as illegal
drugs, require the government to
prove that the possessor knowingly
that the object they possessed con-
tained illegal drugs. This article ex-
plains what evidence is relevant to
determining whether a suspect who
driver has control over the vehicle.
However, when the drugs are se-
creted in a hidden compartment,
there must be some additional evi-
possessed the contraband. Individu- is caught in possession of drugs dence that establishes guilty knowl-
als who possess illegal drugs but do knew he had the drugs or whether edge because there is at least a fair
not know what they have are not he is simply an innocent dupe. probability that someone could
guilty of illegally possessing the have secreted the controlled sub-
drugs. Proving knowledge is often Hidden Compartments stance in the vehicle and used the
an issue in vehicle courier and pack- It ordinarily is reasonable to in- driver as an unwitting courier.1
age delivery cases. Suspects who fer that the driver of a vehicle that There is seldom direct evidence that
have been caught red-handed many contains drugs knows that the drugs proves knowledge. Knowledge

22 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

usually must be inferred from the for some time. The defendant also with the intent to distribute the
facts and circumstances of the admitted that he did not have an marijuana.
case.2 Many times a defendant will appointment with the doctor, but There are other factors that
make inconsistent statements or said that he was on his way to the point to guilty knowledge. For in-
come up with implausible stories. office to make an appointment. The stance, in United States v. Ramos-
Inconsistent or implausible state- defendant stated that the car be- Garcia,4 an immigration inspector
ments can be circumstantial evi- longed to a friend he had known was suspicious that the defendant,
dence of guilty knowledge. since childhood, however, he did who was a U.S. resident alien, was
United States v. Cano-Guel3 is a not know the friend’s last name. At seeking to enter the United States in
typical border drug courier case. the trial, the defendant testified that a vehicle that was registered in
The defendant was arrested while he was crossing the border to see his Mexico. Further inspection of the
trying to enter the United States in doctor, because he was in great pain vehicle revealed 70 pounds of
a car loaded with marijuana. The from the hernia operation. He did marijuana in a hidden compartment.
defendant was the driver and sole not mention his pain at the border The defendant denied any knowl-
occupant of the vehicle. He told checkpoint or while being pro- edge of the marijuana. The defen-
the Customs inspector at the border cessed at the county detention facil- dant stated that he was paid $500 to
that he had nothing to declare and ity, nor did he see a doctor concern- drive the vehicle 4 miles across the
was traveling to El Paso to buy gro- ing his hernia pain until the Friday U.S.–Mexico border. The defen-
ceries. The defendant did not ap- before the trial, which was some 4 dant was convicted of importing
pear nervous and the car did not months after the border stop. marijuana into the United States
smell of marijuana. The defendant The U.S. Court of Appeals for from Mexico. He appealed his con-
told the inspector that the car be- the Fifth Circuit ruled that, based on viction claiming that the evidence
longed to a friend. Because the car the conflicting and implausible was insufficient to prove that he
did not contain registration or in- statements of the defendant at the knew marijuana was in the vehicle
surance papers, the driver was re- border and at trial, there was suffi- he was driving. The appeals court
ferred to a secondary inspection cient evidence to prove that the ruled that the defendant’s failure to
station. The defendant told the in- defendant knowingly possessed ask any questions about the trip
spector at that station that he had
borrowed the car from his mechan-
ic because his car was not run-
ning. A trained drug canine alerted
to the presence of marijuana, and
the officers discovered 59.7 pounds
of marijuana hidden inside the
dashboard and the rear doors. The
defendant claimed that he did not
“ Proving knowledge
can be difficult
when there
know the marijuana was hidden in are multiple
the car. passengers in an
After the Customs inspectors automobile where
found the drugs hidden in the car,
the defendant changed his story and illegal drugs
stated that he was going to El Paso are found.

to see a doctor who had performed a
hernia operation on him some 4
Special Agent Hendrie, DEA Legal Unit,
years earlier. The defendant, how- is a legal instructor at the FBI Academy.
ever, could not remember the
doctor’s name until he pondered it

April 2000 / 23
suggested willful ignorance, which must prove that the defendant was defendant claimed he did not know
was consistent with guilty knowl- aware of a high probability that he the marijuana was in the car. He
edge. Furthermore, the court felt possessed a prohibited drug and de- testified at trial that he thought there
that it was implausible that the de- liberately avoided learning the was probably something wrong and
fendant would be entrusted with truth. It is not enough that the defen- perhaps something illegal in the ve-
such a large quantity of marijuana dant is merely careless or even reck- hicle. He claimed though that prior
without his knowledge. Finally, less regarding the contents of a ve- to driving the vehicle across the
the court noted that the defendant hicle or package.6 A finding of border he checked the vehicle but
was nervous during his encounter willful blindness is only proper did not find anything illegal inside.
with the immigration inspector, where it can almost be said that the He assumed that because he did not
which suggested that he had guilty defendant actually knew that drugs find anything in the vehicle then the
knowledge. were present, but consciously and Customs agents at the border would
deliberately avoided taking the ex- not find anything either. The defen-
Willful Blindness tra step to confirm the presence of dant further testified that he saw the
The Ramos-Garcia court con- the drugs.7 hidden compartment in the trunk
sidered the fact that the defendant but did not know what it was and
did not ask any questions about the did not investigate any further.

trip as an indication of guilty The defendant was ultimately
knowledge. The court understood convicted of possession with intent
that some drug suspects purposely ...the defendant's to distribute and importation of
avoid learning all the information failure to ask any marijuana. The entire bench of the
regarding what is contained in an U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
automobile or a package in the hope
questions about the Circuit accepted the concept of
that, if caught, they would be able to trip suggested willful willful blindness and ruled that
argue that they did not actually ignorance, which even though the trial court’s in-
know that the automobile or pack- was consistent with struction on willful blindness was
age contained drugs. Such “willful guilty knowledge. deficient, the deficiency did not re-
blindness” on the part of drug couri- quire reversal of the defendant’s

ers is not a defense in federal drug conviction. The court took the posi-
prosecutions because the U.S. Su- tion that where a defendant deliber-
preme Court has applied the Model ately avoids confirming his suspi-
Penal Code definition of knowledge For example, in United States v. cions, in the face of a high
in federal drug cases.5 Section 2.02 Jewell,8 the defendant testified that probability that illegal drugs are
(7) of the Model Penal Code pro- he was approached in Tijuana, present, in order to purposely re-
vides that: “When knowledge of the Mexico, by a stranger who identi- main ignorant of their presence,
existence of a particular fact is an fied himself only as “Ray.” Ray such deliberate avoidance of
element of an offense, such knowl- asked the defendant if he wanted to knowledge is equivalent to actually
edge is established if a person is buy some marijuana, and when the knowing the drugs are there.9
aware of a high probability of its defendant declined the offer, Ray While willful blindness is gen-
existence, unless he actually be- offered to pay him $100 for driving erally viewed as equivalent to ac-
lieves that does not exist.” a car across the border. The defen- tual knowledge in the federal
In order for the government to dant was stopped at the border by courts,10 there has been a split on the
prove knowledge when a defendant a U.S. Customs agent, who found applicability of the willful blind-
deliberately avoids finding out 110 pounds of marijuana concealed ness concept in the few state court
whether a vehicle or package con- in a secret compartment between decisions that have addressed the
tains illegal drugs, the government the trunk and the rear seat. The issue.11

24 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Limited Application
of Willful Blindness
Willful blindness is not a con-
cept that can be applied to every
courier case. Willful blindness can
only be properly applied in those
cases where the defendant claims
lack of knowledge and the evidence
supports an inference of deliberate
ignorance.12 For example, in United
States v. Baron,13 the defendant was
pulled over for speeding by a Phoe-
nix, Arizona, police officer. The of-
ficer noticed an intense cherry fra-
grance coming from inside the
vehicle. A canine unit alerted to the
presence of illegal drugs. Twenty-
seven pounds of illegal metham-
phetamine were found hidden in a he is not guilty), but there was in- the defendant 1) suspects that an
compartment in the left rear quarter sufficient evidence to demonstrate object contains drugs, 2) deliber-
panel of the car. The defendant that he purposely avoided learning ately avoids taking steps to confirm
claimed he did not know the drugs all the facts in order to have a de- or refute his suspicions, and 3) does
were in the car. The defendant fense in the event of being arrested so in order to provide himself
stated that he was simply given and charged. The appeals court, with a defense in the event of
$200 to drive the car from Los An- consequently, ruled that the trial prosecution.15
geles to Phoenix. The defendant court erred when it instructed the
gave inconsistent and implausible jury that they could consider the Multiple Passengers in a Vehicle
stories as to what he was to do with willful blindness of the defendant. Proving knowledge can be dif-
the car once he arrived in Phoenix. Such an instruction is inappro- ficult when there are multiple pas-
In addition, the defendant had re- priate when the evidence suggests sengers in an automobile where ille-
ceipts on his person indicating re- that either the defendant has actual gal drugs are found. For instance, in
cent cash purchases by him of over knowledge or no knowledge that United States v. Leonard,16 three
$13,000 even though he admitted illegal drugs are present. 14 The suspects were pulled over as they
being unemployed during the previ- Baron court was concerned that were driving through Georgia on
ous 7 to 8 months. giving a willful blindness instruc- Interstate 75. The driver claimed
The defendant was convicted of tion when there is not sufficient that he only began driving at the
possession with intent to distribute evidence that the defendant deliber- Georgia/Florida line and that he had
methamphetamine, and he ap- ately avoided exploring whether slept during the entire drive through
pealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals drugs are present could serve to re- Florida. The other two passengers
for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the duce the criminal state of mind re- also claimed that they had slept dur-
evidence suggested the defendant quired for conviction from knowl- ing the drive through Florida and
had either actual knowledge the edge to something less, such as consequently did not know where in
drugs were hidden in the car (which negligence. The court ruled that a Florida they had traveled. None of
points to his guilt) or was negligent jury can only be instructed on will- the occupants of the vehicle had any
in disregarding a risk that drugs ful blindness in cases where there is photographic identification. The
were in the car (which would mean sufficient evidence establishing that driver first stated that they were

April 2000 / 25
traveling from Orlando but later the rear passenger knew the gun and All three defendants were con-
changed that to Miami. The owner drugs were hidden in the car, there victed of conspiracy and possession
of the car was sitting in the front was insufficient evidence to prove with intent to distribute cocaine
passenger seat when the car was that he possessed or owned the base. Stanley appealed her convic-
pulled over. After obtaining con- drugs, gun, or vehicle or that he tion, arguing that the evidence was
sent from the owner, the officer aided and abetted the other passen- insufficient to prove that she was
searched the car and found nine gers in possessing them. involved in the drug deal. The U.S.
bricks of cocaine and a 9 mm hand- In United States v. Stanley,18 a Court of Appeals for the Eleventh
gun hidden behind the inside panel suspect arrested on drug charges Circuit agreed that the evidence was
in the tailgate of the car. All of the decided to cooperate with the insufficient to support her convic-
passengers were arrested and subse- police by arranging a purchase of tion. The court noted that the evi-
quently convicted of possession cocaine from his supplier, Charles dence only indicated that she was
with intent to distribute the cocaine Cameron. At the appointed time, present. Mere presence during ille-
and carrying a firearm during a drug the informant met with his supplier. gal activity is never sufficient to
trafficking offense. support a conviction.19 In this case,

All three defendants appealed there was no reliable evidence that
their convictions claiming that there proved Stanley was involved in the
was insufficient evidence at trial for ...deliberate illegal attempt to distribute the co-
a finding that they knew that a gun avoidance of caine. The government argued that
and drugs were in the car. The U.S. because she was sitting in the front
Court of Appeals for the Eleventh knowledge is seat, she would have known that a
Circuit ruled that there was suffi- equivalent to drug deal was being arranged be-
cient evidence to prove that all three actually knowing cause she would have overheard the
defendants knew the drugs were the drugs are there. question posed by the informant as
hidden in the vehicle. The court he walked up to the car. The court

pointed out that each of the passen- noted, however, that there was no
gers claimed to have slept during testimony that Stanley heard the
the drive through Florida. Obvi- question by the informant, or, if she
ously, that could not have been true. The informant walked up to did hear it, whether she reacted in
The court also thought it was sig- Cameron, who at the time was any way to it. Even if she did hear
nificant that none of the passengers pumping gas into his car, and asked the question, her mere knowledge
were surprised when the police dis- him where the dope was. Two of the crime, without any evidence
covered cocaine hidden in the tail- people were sitting in Cameron’s that she assisted in its commission,
gate of the vehicle, which indicated car; Tiffany Stanley was in the front would not be enough to support a
that they all knew the drugs were seat, and Ronald Powers was sitting conviction.20
hidden there. Nonetheless, the court in the back seat. Powers told the Both Stanley and Leonard in-
reversed the convictions of the one informant, “You need to talk to volved drugs hidden in a car. Prov-
passenger who was seated in the me.” The informant and Powers ing knowledge in multiple passen-
rear of the car. The court pointed walked across the street, negotiated ger cases is sometimes difficult
out that mere knowledge of the the drug deal, and returned and even when the drugs are not hidden
presence of illegal contraband is not entered Cameron’s car. Shortly af- in a secret compartment. For ex-
enough to convict.17 There must be terward, all three suspects were ar- ample, in United States v. Pace,21
evidence that the person charged rested by the police. Upon search- the defendant was the driver in a
possessed or aided and abetted oth- ing the vehicle, officers discovered station wagon that the Missouri
ers in the possession of the contra- 88 grams of cocaine base hidden State Police pulled over for speed-
band. The court felt that although underneath the dashboard. ing. Pursuant to a consent search of

26 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

the vehicle, the trooper found bricks that it was reasonable to infer that presence of illegal drugs arises in
of cocaine totaling 200 pounds in criminals would not ordinarily trust situations where the police have in-
three duffel bags and one suitcase. an unwitting person to deliver a tercepted a package filled with ille-
The drugs had a street value of be- valuable shipment of a large quan- gal drugs. Typically, the police
tween 12 and 15 million dollars. tity of drugs, and, therefore, it is must deliver the package to the sus-
Two of the duffel bags were in the reasonable to further infer that a pect before they can prove the sus-
back seat; the third duffel bag and driver entrusted with drugs valued pect knowlingly possessed the ille-
the suitcase were in the cargo area. at between 12 and15 million dollars gal contents. Mere receipt of a
The testimony at the trial indicated must have known the drugs were in package, however, is usually insuf-
that a used car dealer paid the driver the car.22 In Pace, however, the evi- ficient in itself to prove knowledge
$250 to drive a car the dealer owned dence suggested that the driver was of its contents.24 That is particularly
from Los Angeles to Chicago. The not truly trusted. He was not driving true when the package is not opened
dealer rode with him during the trip. alone; the owner of the vehicle by the suspect before his arrest.
The evidence at trial also indicated drove with him as a passenger, and Under those circumstances, a sus-
that all of the bags containing the the vehicle was being followed by a pect can argue that because he did
cocaine belonged to the owner. van apparently to keep an eye on the not see what was inside the pack-
During the trip, the driver noticed age, he could not have known it
that they were being followed by a contained illegal drugs. In such a
black van containing two people, case, the police must obtain evi-
one of whom was described as a dence in addition to the receipt of
Colombian. At one point during the the package in order to prove
trip, the driver asked the owner of knowledge.25
the vehicle why the van was making For example, in Ramsey v.
the trip with them, and the owner People,26 the defendant claimed a
told the driver that it was none of his suitcase at the Grand Junction air-
business. port. The police had previously de-
Both the driver and the owner termined that the suitcase contained
of the vehicle were convicted of marijuana. The defendant was ar-
possession with intent to distribute rested immediately after taking pos-
the cocaine. The U.S. Court of Ap- session of the suitcase. The testi-
peals for the Eighth Circuit ruled mony at the trial indicated that the
that, while there was probable cause defendant picked up the suitcase at
to arrest both the passenger and the shipment. Furthermore, all drug the request of a friend whom he had
driver, there was insufficient evi- statutes prohibiting possession of il- driven to the airport for a flight to
dence to convict the driver. The legal drugs require that there be suf- Denver. The Supreme Court of
court felt that because there was no ficient evidence to prove beyond a Colorado ruled that on those facts
evidence introduced that the driver reasonable doubt that the defendant there was insufficient evidence to
ever looked into the bags, it was knowingly possessed the drugs. prove beyond a reasonable doubt
merely conjecture to conclude that Even if the driver had suspicions that the defendant knew there was
the driver knew that there was co- about whether there were illegal marijuana in the suitcase.
caine in them. Furthermore, the drugs in the car, mere suspicion of Three weeks before its decision
court did not feel that the driver’s illegal activity is not a substitute for in Ramsey, the same Colorado Su-
question and the owner’s answer knowledge.23 preme Court ruled that the defen-
about the black van was enough to dant in People v. Hankin27 knew
prove that the driver was willfully Unopened Packages there was marijuana in a package
ignorant that the car contained con- Many times, the issue as to that he picked up from freight per-
traband. The government argued whether a suspect knew of the sonnel at the Denver Airport. The

April 2000 / 27
Denver Police were notified by the purse. Initially, Ellen’s husband, package to a shed and concealed it
San Mateo County, California, Bruce, denied any knowledge of the within hours of it being delivered;
Sheriff’s Department that the pack- UPS package. When, however, Bruce claimed ignorance when
age contained marijuana. The Den- Bruce was informed of the con- questioned about the package; and
ver Police arrested the defendant as trolled delivery, he led the officers the police found other marijuana
soon as he picked up the package. to a shed and showed them where and drug paraphernalia in the
The difference between the Ramsey the box was hidden. house.
and Hankin cases is that in Hankin Both Ellen and Bruce Arthun
the police found a small quantity of were convicted of criminal posses- Fictitious Addressee
marijuana and a note bearing the sion of dangerous drugs. They ap- Drug suspects sometimes ar-
name and address of the party send- pealed their convictions claiming range to have a fictitious name used
ing the package in the defendant’s that there was insufficient evidence for the addressee. For example, in
pockets. The freight employee, who to prove knowing possession of the Commonwealth v. Sheline,29 police
talked with the defendant on the drugs in the UPS package. The de- made a controlled delivery of a
telephone prior to the defendant fendants maintained that mere pos- package containing 48 grams of co-
picking up the package, testified session of the unopened package caine to Howard Sheline at Portside
that he did not disclose the sender’s Marina. Sheline worked at the ma-
name or address to the defendant. rina, which contained a bait and

The court ruled that those facts tackle shop and a small office. Dur-
were sufficient to infer that the de- ing the week before the controlled
fendant knew marijuana was in the delivery, Sheline asked the regular
package, even though it was not
Mere receipt of a UPS driver twice if there were any
opened, and he only had possession package, however, packages for him—a question
of it for a moment before being is usually insufficient Sheline had never asked the driver
arrested. in itself to prove before. The package was addressed
In State v. Arthun,28 workers at knowledge of from “M. Shark” to “Howie Tuna.”
the United Parcel Service (UPS) its contents. Sheline told the undercover officer
transport hub in Louisville, Ken- delivering the package that the per-

tucky, inspected a package ad- son named as the addressee on the
dressed to Ellen Arthun and discov- package was aboard one of the
ered what appeared to be a sizable boats out back. After receiving the
amount of marijuana (3.96 pounds). was not enough to establish their package, Sheline left the package
The police were called and made an knowledge of its contents. The Su- unopened in the bait and tackle
undercover controlled delivery to preme Court of Montana acknowl- shop; he then scanned the parking
Ellen Arthun at the address on the edged that knowing control cannot lot and looked in one of the parked
package. The police set up surveil- be inferred from mere possession cars seemingly as though he was
lance and watched the house while alone. The court, however, ruled looking for police surveillance. A
one of the officers obtained a search that there was sufficient evidence few minutes later, the police en-
warrant for the residence. The po- that both defendants knew that the tered the marina office with a search
lice executed the search warrant UPS package contained marijuana. warrant. The police asked Sheline if
and, during the search, found a The court stated that guilty knowl- he knew Howie Tuna and whether
small bag of marijuana, rolling pa- edge could be inferred from the fol- he had received a package for a per-
pers, “roach” clips, and some par- lowing facts: Ellen accepted the son named “M. Shark” or anyone
tially burned marijuana cigarettes in package without question or sur- else. Sheline denied knowing
the house. They also found several prise; both Ellen and Bruce kept the Howie Tuna or receiving a package.
UPS receipts, more marijuana, and package without attempting to A jury convicted Sheline of
rolling papers in Ellen Arthun’s return or disclaim it; Bruce took the knowingly possessing cocaine. He

28 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

appealed his conviction, claiming arrest, association alone is never The agents saw the package opened
that there was insufficient evidence sufficient to prove guilt beyond a in the kitchen and found the bag
to prove that he knowingly pos- reasonable doubt.31 containing the remnant of heroin
sessed the cocaine. The Supreme For instance, in United States v. underneath a rug in the living room.
Court of Massachusetts stated that Samad,32 U.S. Customs officials Both Samad and Hanan denied
merely possessing a package re- opened a package that contained 22 knowing that there was heroin in the
ceived by mail or common carrier grams of 72 percent pure heroin. package. Nonetheless, they were
which contains drugs is not suffi- DEA agents removed most of the both convicted of possession with
cient to support an inference be- heroin, leaving only a remnant and intent to distribute the heroin and
yond a reasonable doubt that the resealed the package. The DEA importation of the heroin into the
possessor knows the contents of the agents arranged with the mail ser- United States.
package. The court ruled, however, vice a controlled delivery of the Samad and Hanan appealed
that there was evidence in the case package to the address listed on the their convictions claiming that there
that proved Sheline knew that co- package. Samad answered the door was insufficient evidence that they
caine was in the package. Sheline’s at the residence, and when the letter knew heroin was in the package.
denying receipt of a delivery and carrier asked for M. Amin, the per- The evidence at trial indicated that
telling the police that he did not son named on the package, Samad Samad handed the package to
know Howie Tuna suggested that answered, “Yes.” The package was Hanan, who opened the package.
he was attempting to disassociate fitted with a beeper that was de- When the agents knocked on the
himself from the package because signed to emit a radio signal when door, Hanan quickly kicked the
he knew it contained cocaine. In the package was opened. When the heroin underneath the carpet. The
addition, his inquiries of UPS ear- package was opened, the DEA U.S. Court of Appeals for the
lier in the week regarding the deliv- agents went to the door and were Fourth Circuit had little trouble
ery of a package indicated that he admitted by Samad’s housemate, finding that Hanan knowingly im-
expected the package to arrive. His Hanan. When the agents asked ported the heroin into the United
behavior after the delivery of seem- Hanan where the package was lo- States and possessed it with the in-
ing to look for police surveillance cated, he asked, “What package?” tent to distribute it.
also suggested that he had knowl-
© Mark C. Ide
edge of the contents of the package.
Multiple Residents in a Dwelling
There is a strong inference that
a person who is the sole occupant of
a house or apartment has dominion
and control over the contents of his
house or apartment. If illegal drugs
are found in the dwelling, then it
would be reasonable to infer that
the sole occupant knowingly pos-
sessed those drugs.30 When, on the
other hand, there is more than one
person living at a residence, there
must be some additional evidence
to prove the guilt of each of the
suspects. While association be-
tween suspects may be relevant
when deciding probable cause to

April 2000 / 29
Although Samad was receiving drug paraphernalia found in the Id. (quoting United States v. Jewell, 532
F.2d 697, 704 (9th Cir. 1976) (en banc)).
welfare, he had $850 in cash on his subject’s possession, 7) lack of 8
532 F.2d 697 (9th Cir. 1976) (en banc).
person and another $3,500 in a suit- surprise upon discovery of the See also Kristen L. Chesnut, Alvarado:
case. A large amount of money contraband, 8) scanning for police Reflections on a Jewell, 19 Golden Gate U. L.
found on a person who is closely surveillance, 9) accepting a pack- Rev. 47 (1989).
associated with illegal drugs sug- But see United States v. Hiland, 909 F.2d
age without question or surprise,
1114, 1130 (8th Cir. 1990). In Hiland, the
gests that the money is proceeds 10) hiding a package once it is de- Eighth Circuit rejected the requirement that the
from drug trafficking, particularly livered, and 11) inquiring about the willful blindness instruction to the jury must
when the person has no gainful em- status of a package in anticipation specifically state that “a defendant has
knowledge of a certain fact only if he is aware
ployment. The court, however, was of its delivery. The above list is only
of a high probability of its existence, unless he
persuaded by Samad’s explanation a partial roster of facts which may actually believes that it does not exist.” The
that he brought the money with him point to guilty knowledge. Each Second Circuit, however, requires that the
from Afghanistan when he was situation will give rise to its own willful blindness instruction given to the jury
have the “high probability” language. See
granted political asylum in the unique facts which will either point
United States v. Feroz, 848 F.2d 359, 360 (2d
United States. Furthermore, the to guilty knowledge or innocence. Cir. 1988).
court felt that Samad’s affirmative 10
See, e.g., United States v. Bilis, 170 F.3d
response to the letter courier at the 88 (1st Cir. 1999); United States v. Wilson, 134

F.3d 855 (7th Cir. 1998); United States v.
door was the result of Samad’s lan-
Feroz, 848 F.2d 359 (2d Cir. 1988); United
guage difficulty with English. Con- States v. Rada-Salano, 625 F.2d 577 (5th Cir.
sequently, the court found that there Even if the driver had 1980); United States v. Aleman, 728 F.2d 492
was insufficient evidence to prove suspicions about (11th Cir. 1984).
See North Carolina v. Bogle, 376 N.E.2d
that Samad was aware of the impor- whether there 745 (N.C. 1988) (rejecting the concept of
tation or distribution scheme.
were illegal drugs “willful blindness”in North Carolina drug case);
contra, State v. McCallum, 583 A.2d 250 (Md.
Conclusion in the car, mere 1991) (applied “willful blindness” to driver’s
The government has the burden license suspension case); Wetzler v. Florida,
455 So.2d 511 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1984)
of proving at trial that an individual not a substitute (applied “willful blindness” in a Florida drug
found in possession of an object for knowledge. case).
See United States v. Aguilar, 80 F.3d 329,
containing illegal drugs knew that

332 (9th Cir. 1996) (en banc) (overturning
the object contained the illegal sub- conviction of federal judge in wiretap
stance. If the drugs are hidden in a disclosure case where willful blindness
vehicle or in a package the recipient instruction was improperly given to the jury).
Endnotes 13
94 F.3d 1312 (9th Cir. 1996).
has not opened and the suspect does 1 14
United States v. Resio-Trejo, 45 F.3d 907, See United States v. Lara-Velasquez, 919
not admit he knew that the contra- 911 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. Diaz – F.2d 946, 951-53 (5th Cir. 1990).
band was present, then the govern- Carreon, 915 F.2d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1990). 15
But see United States v. Ruhe,--- F.3d ----,
ment must have sufficient circum- See also United States v. Ortega Reyna,148 1999 WL 674758 (4th Cir. 1999) (the Fourth
stantial evidence from which to F.3d 540 (5th Cir. 1998). Circuit rejected the Ninth Circuit’s requirement
See United States v. Moreno, 185 F.3d that the government prove that the defendant’s
infer that the possessor knew the 465 (5th Cir. 1999) (implausible and inconsis- ignorance was for the purpose of providing a
contraband was present. Courts tent statements were sufficient to infer guilty defense in case of prosecution before a willful
have found that the following facts knowledge in an airport courier case involving a blindness instruction may be given).
are particularly relevant to proving hidden compartment). See also Seeley v. State, 138 F.3d 906 (11th Cir. 1998).
959 P.2d 170 (Wyo. 1998). See United States v. Vasquez-Chan, 978
knowledge: 1) inconsistent state- 3
167 F. 3d 900 (5th Cir. 1999). F.2d 546, 552 (9th Cir. 1992) (The defendant
ments, 2) implausible stories, 3) a 4
184 F.3d 463 (5th Cir. 1999). was a live-in housekeeper who knew that the
large quantity of valuable contra- Turner v. United States, 396 U.S. 398 homeowner was involved in large scale drug
band, 4) nervousness, 5) failure to (1970); Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 trafficking. The police found approximately 600
(1969). kilograms of cocaine in the house. The
ask any questions regarding the na- 6
See United States v. Baron, 94 F.3d 1312, housekeeper admitted that she knew the drugs
ture of a trip, 6) more contraband or 1317 (9th Cir. 1996). were in the house. The court reversed her

30 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

conviction because the evidence only proved the illegal contraband by fingerprint evidence See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Rambo, 412
that she was a housekeeper and there was nor was he connected to the vehicle other than A.2d 535, 537-38 (Pa. 1980); People v. Larson,
insufficient evidence that she assisted in the as a mere passenger. No drugs or cash were 503 P.2d 343, 344-45 (Colo. 1972) (en banc).
illegal venture.). See also United States v. found on his person and he did not attempt to See, e.g., State v. Smith, 661 P.2d 463
Teffera, 985 F.2d 1082, 1087 (D.C. Cir. 1993) evade arrest.) (Mont. 1983); United States v. Shinder, 8 F.3d
(“[I]t is not a crime simply to travel— even 24 F.3d 1314 (11th Cir. 1994). 633 (8th Cir. 1994).
19 26
knowingly— with someone who is carrying See United States v. Pantoja-Soto, 739 498 P.2d 1148 (Colo. 1972).
drugs; to be liable for the substantive offense, F.2d 1520 (11th Cir. 1984). 498 P.2d 1116 (Colo. 1972).
20 28
one must actively seek to aid or assist the See United States v. Pena, 983 F.2d 71, 906 P.2d 216 (Mont. 1995).
person in possessing the drugs.”); United States 72 (6th Cir. 1993); United States v. Kelly, 888 461 N.E.2d 1197 (Mass. 1984).
v. Ramirez, 176 F.3d 1179 (9th Cir. 1999) (The F.2d 732 (11th Cir. 1989). United States v. Morris, 977 F.2d 617
driver in a rental vehicle was annoyed and his 922 F.2d 451 (8th Cir. 1990). (D.C. Cir. 1992).
22 31
passenger was very nervous during a Mexican/ See also United States v. Ramos-Garcia, See United States v. Bautista-Avila, 6
U.S. border inspection where 46.4 pounds of 167 F. 3d 900 (5th Cir. 1999); United States F.3d 1360, 1363 (9th Cir. 1993).
marijuana were found hidden in the spare tire. v. Del Aguila-Reyes, 722 F.2d 155 (5th Cir. 754 F.2d 1091 (4th Cir. 1984).
The driver’s conviction was affirmed but the 1983).
passenger’s conviction was reversed. While See United States v. Pena, 983 F.2d 71 Law enforcement officers of other than
evidence of a passenger’s nervousness suggests (6th Cir. 1993) (Seventeen kilograms of cocaine federal jurisdiction who are interested in
knowledge of the presence of drugs in a vehicle, were found hidden in a vehicle’s secret this article should consult their legal
mere knowledge without evidence pointing to compartment. The conviction of the passenger advisors. Some police procedures ruled
the passenger’s dominion or control of the was overturned because she did not know the permissible under federal constitutional law
contraband is insufficient to prove possession. vehicle contained cocaine, even though she felt are of questionable legality under state law
In Ramirez the passenger was not connected to there was something illegal in the car.) or are not permitted at all.

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FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Author Guidelines
GENERAL INFORMATION additional specifications, detailed examples, and
The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is an effective writing techniques.
official publication of the Federal Bureau of PHOTOGRAPHS AND GRAPHICS
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32 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

The Bulletin Notes
Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each
challenge freely and unselfishly while answering the call to duty. In certain instances, their actions
warrant special attention from their respective departments. The Bulletin also wants to recognize
their exemplary service to the law enforcement profession.

Deputies Louis Mero, Monty

Cervelli, and Dennis Ford of the
Siskiyou County, California,
Sheriff’s Department responded
to a fire at an apartment complex.
Upon arrival, the deputies began
evacuating the three-story build-
ing, which quickly became
engulfed in smoke and flames .
Through the dense smoke, Deputy
Deputy Mero Deputy Cervelli Deputy Ford Mero climbed a wooden stairwell
in the back of the complex to
reach the third floor. A couple trapped on that floor had become desperate as the flames approached
and were contemplating jumping out the window when Deputy Mero found them. After directing the
couple to the ground floor, Deputy Mero assisted an elderly female from the second floor down the last
flight of stairs. As soon as they reached the ground floor, the stairway burst into flames. Deputies
Cervelli and Ford coordinated the evacuation of several other residents, as well as those in surrounding
buildings. The brave and heroic actions of these three deputies prevented injury and possible death to
the occupants and surrounding residents of the apartment complex.

Lieutenant Ben Mance of the Morrow, Georgia, Police Department was with
another officer in a local restaurant when an elderly female, seated with her two
companions, began to choke. Lieutenant Mance was unaware of the emergency
until the choking victim began to thrash in her seat, and he saw the frightened
looks of her companions. Lieutenant Mance moved immediately to the booth,
lifted the victim from her
seat, and began to adminis-
ter the Heimlich maneuver. Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based
Fearful of breaking the on either the rescue of one or more citizens or
arrest(s) made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety.
elderly woman’s ribs, Submissions should include a short write-up
Lieutenant Mance Lieutenant Mance made (maximum of 250 words), a separate photograph of
two unsuccessful attempts each nominee, and a letter from the department’s
ranking officer endorsing the nomination. Submis-
to dislodge the food stuck in her throat. On the sions should be sent to the Editor, FBI Law Enforce-
third attempt, he dislodged the food successfully. ment Bulletin, FBI Academy, Madison Building,
Room 209, Quantico, VA 22135.
Lieutenant Mance’s keen observation skills and
swift response saved the woman’s life.
U.S. Department of Justice Periodical
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Patch Call

The Campbellsville, Kentucky, Police Depart- The Navajo County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Depart-
ment patch resembles the city seal. The date at the ment patch is outlined in red to represent the loss of
bottom of the patch depicts the year Campbellsville the first deputy killed in the line of duty in the county.
was founded. The large star at the top of the patch The patch’s scene depicts the White Mountains of
represents the mayor of the city, and the 12 smaller Arizona to the high desert area of Monument Valley.
stars symbolize the elected officials that form the city A 5-point silver star in the center of the patch holds
council. The dot with lines emerging in the middle of the outline of Arizona, decorated with the state flag.
the patch signifies the city’s central location in A stripe of silver in the right corner depicts Navajo
Kentucky. The emblem of a barn with a plowed field County. The black circle around the star indicates the
represents agriculture, the building with smokestacks county’s continued mourning for the deputy. The
denotes industry, the cap and diploma depict educa- four gold arrows within the black ring indicate the
tion, and the man with a ball represents recreation. county’s bonding and commitment to work together
for one common cause with the Navajo, Hopi, and
Apache Indian tribes.