Louisiana Drug Warriors Bungle Surveillance So Badly Their Target Catches Them Placing A Tracking Device On Her Car

from the points-for-enthusiasm,-I-guess dept

You'd think a team of highly trained professionals working in the narcotics enforcement field would be a bit more careful than this. (via Jalopnik)

A woman who was recently arrested for drugs said she found a tracking device on her vehicle over the weekend. She said she watched law enforcement officers place it on her car Friday.

The device was found under the passenger side of her car. It's a black box with a lithium battery inside and a large magnet.

The woman, Tiara Beverly, was arrested last month on "serious drug charges." A few days after her arrest, five officers showed up at her door to ask about someone she knew. She had no answers for them and went down and filed a complaint against the state troopers because she felt they had treated her poorly during this interaction.

Two days later, she saw people hanging around her car. A day after that, she found the tracking device. Not sure what it was (she thought it might have been a bomb) and not particularly keen to interact with law enforcement again at that point, she spoke to the NAACP to find someone to approach law enforcement for her.

That's when law enforcement finally decided to open up about the device now in Beverly's possession:

Eugene Collins [Baton Rouge NAACP President] said State Police contacted him Monday demanding the return of the device.

"They asked me to return the box," Collins said. "It could make the situation more difficult for me."

Why this would make things "more difficult" for a third party not actually in possession of the tracking device is unknown. Either way, the device was ultimately returned to law enforcement after it was found attached to a utility pole across the street from a local middle school.

But the device wasn't found by the agency demanding its return or by the investigators unwilling to speak about the super-sensitive tracking device because doing so would jeopardize the investigation officers were currently bungling. It was found by WBRZ reporters following up on Tiara Beverly's story.

At least the statement provided to WBRZ says the State Police got a warrant for the tracker. That at least appears to comply with Supreme Court precedent. But everything else about it appears incredibly amateurish. Warrant or not, investigators would be better off not being seen attaching tracking devices to criminal suspects' vehicles. It kind of defeats the purpose of surreptitious tracking when the installation is less than surreptitious.

This isn't the first time a surveillance target has discovered, removed, and, consequently, received threats from law enforcement for "taking" something investigators willfully attached to someone else's property. But judging from that viral experience, there's not much in it for the target of this attempted surveillance either.

A Redditor who found an FBI tracking device attached to his car received a visit from agents after he removed the device and asked questions about it on Reddit. The FBI made angry noises about any lack of cooperation from the target of its failed surveillance attempt being perceived as its own criminal act, but in the end, no additional charges were filed. Unfortunately, a lawsuit brought against the FBI failed because it wasn't clear at that point that warrants were needed and all other privacy violation allegations were dismissed because the person chose to bring it to the attention of Reddit, which soon brought to the attention of journalists and commentators all over the nation.

This is just officers being bad at their job. They're probably not going to get another chance to turn Beverly's vehicle into rolling probable cause. They had a shot and they blew it. Then they got angry and never even bothered to track down the current location of the device investigators said should be immediately returned to them because of their ongoing investigation.

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Filed Under: louisiana, surveillance, tiara beverly, tracking device


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 3:47pm

    So... they wanted it returned. But it was found by... a news crew?

    Uh, good tracking device there, buds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 3:49pm

    Louisiana’s “finest”, everyone!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 4:32pm

    The possibilities are endless

    She could have had fun by attaching it to any number of things other than a utility pole:

    • a freight train
    • a school bus
    • a garbage truck
    • the Buick that the little old lady next door only drives to church and walmart
    • a police car
      I'm sure I am missing some.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 4:48pm

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      Was thinking just destroying it would be best, but I really like that freight train idea.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      christenson, 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:34pm

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      The police chief's car, the mayor's car, the sherriff's car, the judge's car....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:32pm

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      She could have had fun by attaching it to any number of things other than a utility pole:

      Is this my chance to advertise the hydraulic press channel?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:44pm

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      The police car would be a bad idea. I can just see what the idiots would report afterwards.

      ... after attaching the tracking device to the suspects car, the collected data indicated that the subject frequently appeared at a wide variety of crime scenes. Given the number and scope of the scenes the subject was associated with, it's obvious that the subject is a major player in a massive crime syndicate. We recommend increased surveillance of the subject ...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        drkkgt (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 9:51pm

        Re: Re: The possibilities are endless

        however if she had put it on a judges car and gotten the same results, that would have been hilarious.
        Your honor she went to all these high crime events.
        No I didn't, it was on the judges car.
        um case dismissed... thats lunch bye......

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Train Enthusiast, 27 Apr 2021 @ 12:58am

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      I like the freight train idea. They could be chasing it across the country.

      Another option would be to mail it to some nice safe country like Honduras or San Salvador.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2021 @ 6:27am

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      just park the car at the police station and call the bomb squad to come out and remove it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 1:20pm

      Endless possibilities

      An airliner would be great if she had access.

      I'd suggest a Mars rover but ballast is at a premium on those.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 6:45pm

      Re: The possibilities are endless

      Interstate FEDEX or others.. LOVE IT.
      Every truck stop would then have Feds in them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PossibleHuman (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 4:45pm

    Seems like there's a choice to be made...

    By the same logic which allows persons to be prosecuted for drug possession after officers have placed drugs in their vehicles, this device is now the property of the person to whose vehicle it was attached.

    Alternatively, law enforcement can claim ownership of the device and by the same stroke, it owns any illegal drugs "found" in vehicles, thereby making the vehicle owner inelegible for charges of possession.

    Which way do you think it will go?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PartTimeZombie (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:09pm

      Re: Seems like there's a choice to be made...

      That is exactly what a man in my country claimed in court when he found one of these tracking devices on his car. He refused to give it back and the cops sued but they lost and he kept it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:34pm

    Top... Men...

    We lost our stealth fighter... we couldn't see it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:10pm

    Louisiana ninjas

    I'm sure they meant to get caught...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tanj, 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:21pm

    They need a tracking device for their tracking device.

    If they had some sort of tracking device they could use on their tracking devices maybe they wouldn't lose these things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 7:51pm

    Stay classy you blue-suited goons

    "They asked me to return the box," Collins said. "It could make the situation more difficult for me."

    They attached the device to her vehicle, got caught, and when she exposed their actions they blamed her and threatened her if she didn't 'return' their gorram property.

    Oh yeah, the very height of professional conduct there, definitely not a band of thugs willing to engage in petty vindictiveness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:35pm

      Re: Stay classy you blue-suited goons

      Not quite.

      Tiara Beverly is the person who's car the tracker was installed on. Because of her not trusting any interaction with the police, contacted NAACP to act as a go between.

      Eugene Collins (Baton Rouge NAACP President) was the person threatened by the police to return the device.

      In a nutshell, not only were they petty thugs who issue threats when in the wrong, they were petty thugs who issue threats TO THE WRONG PERSON.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 9:23pm

        Re: Re: Stay classy you blue-suited goons

        has thought bubbles pop up from his head of petty thugs being petty

        Yeah we ruined your entire house but we swear we saw a spot on the thermal camera so we don't have to pay to wrecking your home.

        Yeah you were getting undressed, we burst in, handcuffed you waited a while to offer to cover you up once it became clear around the 50th time that our CI MIGHT have been mistaken.

        Oh hes threatening to kill himself & is covered in gasoline!?!? Hold my beer & hand me that taser.

        The only person that is the wrong person for them to threaten is someone who has more power than they do.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:03pm

        Re: Re: Stay classy you blue-suited goons

        Ah, I misread that, thanks for the correction. Wow, as if my estimation of the police in the story hadn't already been low enough already...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 27 Apr 2021 @ 1:38am

    At least they didn't dislocate her shoulder

    "US Police mock dementia sufferer", https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56897186

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 27 Apr 2021 @ 6:51am

    If she didnt steal or destroy it and the cops can track it

    How exactly did she do anything wrong regarding the tracker?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 2:09pm

      Re: If she didnt steal or destroy it and the cops can track it

      She had the audacity to make them look stupid, which is a blatant violation of the super-duper real law 'contempt of cop'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2021 @ 3:43pm

    Lake

    or a deep river or a canal at the end of a road.
    You want it back, you know where it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 1:19am

    If you find a tracking device, just take it off, put in your microwave oven and destroy it, then put it back on your car.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:23am

    This does raise a lot of legal questions

    Once I find a tracking device on my car, what are my rights regarding the device? Can I be charged with a crime for destroying it or refusing to return it to law enforcement? Am I allowed to remove it from my vehicle? Will I be charged with a crime if I turn it into a news agency or another none-government agency? What about an agent of another government, say the ambassador of China?

    The problem is once government agents start engaging in espionage against me (say, planting a tracking device on my car) it is essentially a declaration of open hostility by the state considering its agents are committing crimes against me and mine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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