Stingray Surveillance Devices Used To Effect Arrest May Be Violating The Fourth Amendment

Stingrays, also known as cell tower simulators or “IMSI catchers,” are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and cell tower stingray privacy 300x164identifying information no matter if the phone is turned on or off. When used to track a suspect’s cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby. The ACLU states that law enforcement all over the country possess Stingrays, though those agencies that use them and their use in general is shrouded in secrecy.

A case just ruled on this month in Tallahassee, Florida involves a twenty year old male, Tadrae Mackenzie, and two of his friends who allegedly robbed a pot dealer of $130 worth of marijuana using BB guns. Under Florida law, this offense could constitute robbery with a deadly weapon subject to a sentence of at least four years in prison. But before trial, McKenzie’s defense team detected investigators’ use of a Stingray device. The State Judge ordered the police and the prosecutor to present the Stingray to McKenzie’s attorneys. Rather than show the equipment, the State offered McKenzie a plea bargain whereby he is now serving six months probation after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor.

The Baltimore City Police Department is also under similar scrutiny for its surreptitious use of the Stingray cell tower simulator in actions outside of a judge’s warrant. According to Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV, it’s not known if Tennessee law enforcement is using the Stingray surveillance device.

If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, or for any other offense it’s important you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Feel free to call our office today to discuss your case.


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