from the Judgment of Sentence July 1, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Luzerne County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., MOULTON, J., and PLATT, J. [*]
Green appeals from the July 1, 2016 judgment of sentence
entered in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas following
his convictions for possession with intent to deliver a
controlled substance ("PWID"), possession of a
controlled substance, and possession of drug
paraphernalia. We affirm.
August 4, 2014, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Pennsylvania
State Police Trooper Mark Conrad was conducting radar
enforcement on State Route 115 in Bear Creek Township,
Luzerne County, which had a speed limit of 45 miles per hour.
Trooper Conrad is assigned to the Northwest K-9 Unit and had
Astor, a Pennsylvania State Police canine, with
Trooper Conrad's vehicle was "positioned across from
the Bear Creek Charter School near [an] access ramp to the
[Pennsylvania] Turnpike." Trial Ct. Op., 10/24/16, at 2
Conrad measured the speed of a tan-colored Dodge sedan and
obtained a reading of 62 miles per hour. He then activated
his emergency lights and stopped the vehicle. When Trooper
Conrad approached the vehicle, he noticed that Green, the
vehicle's sole occupant, appeared "overly nervous
for [a] traffic violation stop, " as Green's
"lips and face area around his lips were trembling, and
. . . a carotid artery in his neck appeared to be
pounding." N.T., 10/13/15, at 10-11.
Conrad recognized Green and the vehicle from two prior
traffic stops. In the first, Green was an occupant in a
different vehicle traveling from Philadelphia. During that
stop, Trooper Conrad recovered cocaine and marijuana hidden
in the vehicle's engine compartment. In the second,
Trooper Conrad stopped the same tan Dodge sedan driven by its
owner almost three months before the current stop, and found
a hypodermic needle in the vehicle.
at the window of the vehicle,  Trooper Conrad asked Green for
the registration and insurance documents for the vehicle.
Green replied that he did not own the car and it was not
registered to him. Trooper Conrad then asked Green about his
travel plans. Green stated that he was returning from
Philadelphia, where he had dropped off his son at
approximately 9:00 a.m. Trooper Conrad returned to his
vehicle and ran a criminal history check on Green, which
showed that Green had a "lengthy criminal history for
assault and drug offenses." 1925(a) Op. at 3. Trooper
Conrad called for backup, returned to the vehicle, and asked
Green to step out.
that Green may have been trafficking drugs, Trooper Conrad
asked Green to consent to a search of the
vehicle. When Green declined, Trooper Conrad
deployed Astor. Astor alerted to the odor of narcotics on
both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. Trooper
Conrad then searched the vehicle and found a folded black bag
in the engine compartment next to the air filter, located on
the passenger side of the vehicle. Inside the black bag,
Trooper Conrad discovered three sleeves of heroin, containing
525 packets total.
August 17, 2015, Green filed a motion to suppress, arguing
that (1) Trooper Conrad had no reasonable suspicion to detain
him or to deploy Astor to sniff the vehicle, and (2) Trooper
Conrad lacked probable cause to search the vehicle.
October 13, 2015, the trial court held a suppression hearing.
Trooper Conrad testified on behalf of the Commonwealth,
noting that, along with the factual information above, he had
been employed by the Pennsylvania State Police for 10 years,
had received specialized training in drug investigation and
drug interdiction, had been involved in approximately 1, 000
drug investigations, and had been previously qualified as an
expert in drug trafficking and highway interdiction. On the
Commonwealth's motion, the trial court accepted Trooper
Conrad as an expert in drug trafficking and drug
interdiction. Trooper Conrad testified that based on: (1) his
experience, (2) his prior contacts with Green and the
vehicle, (3) Green's nervousness, (4) Green's return
from Philadelphia, which is a drug-source city, and (5)
Green's use of a third-party vehicle whose owner was not
present, he believed that he had reasonable suspicion to
December 23, 2015, the trial court denied Green's motion
to suppress. Green proceeded to a jury trial. On May 26,
2016, the jury convicted Green of the aforementioned charges.
On July 1, 2016, the trial court sentenced Green to an
aggregate term of 1 to 2 years' incarceration followed by
2 years' probation. On July 7, 2016, Green timely filed a
notice of appeal.
Green raises three issues on appeal:
I. Whether Trooper Conrad exceeded the scope of the
predicate traffic stop of [Green], for allegedly speeding,
and then subjected [Green] to an illegal detention that was
wholly unsupported by reasonable suspicion that [Green] was
engaged in criminal activity or articulable suspicion that
[Green] was armed and dangerous?
II. Whether Trooper Conrad conducted an illegal canine
sniff of [Green]'s vehicle after the conclusion of the
predicate traffic stop and without the requisite reasonable
suspicion that [Green] was engaged in criminal activity?
III. Whether Trooper Conrad conducted an illegal
warrantless search of ...