from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Kellyann
M. Lekar (suppression) and Bradley J. Harris (trial), Judges.
Apfel challenges his convictions of possession of
methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of
marijuana, possession of diazepam, unlawful possession of
prescription drugs, and drug tax stamp violation.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Apfel appeals his convictions for five drug charges. On
appeal, Apfel claims the district court erred in denying his
motion to suppress. We find the traffic stop and subsequent
investigation, dog sniff, and search did not violate
Apfel's constitutional rights. We affirm the district
Background Facts & Proceedings
12:58 a.m. on July 29, 2016, law enforcement initiated a
traffic stop of a vehicle after observing it cross the center
line. When the officer informed the driver, Apfel, why the
traffic stop was initiated, Apfel did not dispute the vehicle
crossed the center line. His first reaction was "[W]ell,
my car kinda pulls that way a little bit" and soon said
he should have gotten the problem fixed, reiterating, "I
know it pulls pretty hard that way."
told the officer he had purchased the vehicle the day before.
Apfel had the vehicle title with him but no registration,
proof of insurance, or current license plates. On the title,
the seller information was filled out and dated July 27, but
no information indicating the buyer, the vehicle's
mileage, or a bill of sale was included. Apfel was unable
to identify or provide the contact information of the seller
of the vehicle. The license plates on the vehicle were
registered to a different vehicle owned by Apfel's wife.
The officer began an investigation of the ownership status of
the vehicle to determine if Apfel had a right to drive it.
duffle bag was observed in the back seat, and Apfel provided
a vague description of its contents. The officer requested
consent to search the vehicle, and Apfel refused. A search on
Apfel's driver's license revealed prior drug
offenses. The officer called for a canine unit. The unit
arrived while the officer continued to investigate the
ownership of the vehicle. The officer talked on Apfel's
cell phone with an acquaintance of Apfel who helped with the
vehicle purchase. The officer requested dispatch make
subsequent additional calls on the ownership while the
officer checked if the car could stay in the driveway
overnight after the invalid license plates were removed. At
the same time the canine unit performed a dog sniff outside
indicated at the open driver side window by trying to jump in
the window and, when the officer let him in the vehicle,
indicated at the dash. In the dash, officers found bottles of
pills and a small zippered case containing methamphetamine,
marijuana, a pipe, a scale, and a social security card for
Apfel's ex-wife. The officer located notebooks in the
glove compartment, one of which appeared to be a drug ledger.
The duffle bag contained more drugs and paraphernalia. Apfel
was arrested. The officers recovered two hundred diazepam
tablets, ten tablets of alprazolam, eight bags of
methamphetamine, and marijuana from the vehicle. The officers
also removed over $1100 dollars in cash and jewelry from
State charged Apfel with five offenses: (1) possession of
more than five grams of methamphetamine with intent to
deliver (second offense), in violation of Iowa Code sections
124.401(1)(b)(7) and 124.411 (2016); (2) drug tax stamp
violation (habitual offender), in violation of sections
453B.3 and .12; (3) possession of marijuana (third offense),
in violation of section 124.401(5); (4) possession of
diazepam with intent to deliver, in violation of section
124.401(1)(d); and (5) unlawful possession of a prescription
drug, in violation of section 155A.21.
filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during the
traffic stop. He made three claims: the officer's
observation of his vehicle crossing the center line was not a
sufficient basis for initiating a traffic stop; the extension
of the traffic stop to wait for the canine officer was
unconstitutional; and there was no ...