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What your Virginia neighbors know can hurt you

Two Virginia residents were likely surprised this past week when police approached their vehicle while it was parked in the driveway of a home located in the Dog Hill neighborhood in Culpeper, Virginia. After a search of the vehicle, police arrested the two men on suspicion of drug crimes, including possession with felony intent to distribute cocaine.

Officers with the police department that made the arrest said that the incident was a culmination of events that started with a tip from a Neighborhood Watch group.

When the officers received the tip that a resident suspected that their neighbor was participating in illegal activity, the officers set up a "lookout" to watch the home. Police had obtained the description of a car that allegedly was used to conduct the sale of controlled substances. 

When a vehicle matching the description of the car mentioned above pulled into the driveway, the officers approached it and conducted the search. During the search, the officers found what appeared to be crack cocaine, measuring scales and other products that in their experience were used to sell narcotics. 

Based upon the results of this search, the arrests were made. The 22-year-old and 20-year-old male passengers were taken into custody and charged. 

This was not the only arrest made this month that began with a tip from a member of a Neighborhood Watch group. 

While it might be a warning that a neighbor may be more than nosy, actually taking action, it also raises the issue of search and seizures. Police need sufficient probable cause to conduct a search, and in many instances a defense attorney will find out that a defendant's right to privacy was violated by a search. 

Source: NBC Washington, "Citizen Tips Lead to Drug Arrests in Virginia," Aug. 2, 2013