State v. Frederick, 371 N.C. 547 (Oct. 26, 2018)

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 814 S.E.2d 855 (2018), the court per curiam affirmed. The Court of Appeals had held, over a dissent, that the search warrant of the defendant’s residence was supported by probable cause. The warrant was supported by the following information: A detective received information from a reliable confidential source regarding a mid-level drug dealer who sold MDMA, heroin, and crystal methamphetamine. The source had previously provided truthful information that the detective could corroborate, and the source was familiar with the packaging and sale of the drugs in question. The source had assisted the detective with the purchase of MDMA one week prior to the issuance of the search warrant. For that purchase, the detective gave the source money to purchase the drugs. The source met a middleman with whom he then traveled to the defendant’s residence. The detective saw the middleman enter the residence and return to the source after approximately two minutes. The detective found this conduct indicative of drug trafficking activity based on his training and experience. The source then met with the detective, and provided him with MDMA. A subsequent purchase of drugs occurred 72 hours prior to the issuance of the search warrant. The details of that transaction were very similar, except that the officer also saw two males enter the residence and exit approximately two minutes later, conduct he believed to be indicative of drug trafficking activity. The Court of Appeals held that this was sufficient to establish probable cause.