Bill Laitner
Detroit Free Press
October 21, 2011

Motorists driving on expressways around Flint are getting surprised by a stunning tactic that the Genesee County sheriff has been using to fight the flow of illegal drugs — one that legal experts said will not withstand a court challenge.

At least seven times this month, including Tuesday, motorists have said they have seen a pickup towing a large sign on I-69 or U.S.-23 that depicts the sheriff’s badge and warns: “Sheriff narcotics check point, 1 mile ahead — drug dog in use.”

The checkpoints are part of a broad sweep for drugs that Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell and his self-titled Sheriff’s Posse said are needed, calling Flint a crossroads of drug dealing because nearly a half-dozen major roads and expressways pass in and around the city. Pickell said he decided to try checkpoints when he learned that drug shipments might be passing through Flint in tractor-trailers with false compartments.

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