Carroll v. US (1925) 267 US 132

Border Search

This case involved the illegal possession, transportation and importation of alcohol. The court found that the main purpose of § 26 of the National Prohibition Act, 41 Stat. 305, was seizure and forfeiture, and it was not so much the owner as the property that offended. The court held that the right to search and the validity of the seizure were not dependent on the right to arrest, but were dependent on the reasonable cause the seizing liquor agents had for their belief that the contents of defendant’s automobile were illegal. The court found that the evidence showed that the agents had ample reason to believe defendants’ vehicle contained illegal liquor because defendants were known to transport liquor in that vehicle, were recognized by the agents, and were on a route known for illegal liquor traffic. Those circumstances provided sufficient probable cause to search the vehicle.