Three Minnesota residents charged with heroin trafficking continued their push Tuesday to ban from court evidence gathered last fall in a traffic stop by a controversial Kane County sheriff's deputy.
Jessica Johnson, 29, Leo Cook, 32, both of Redby, and Derek Paddy, 20, of Red Lake, were arrested Nov. 11, 2015, after a traffic stop for following too closely as they drove west on I-90 near Huntley.
Authorities seized nearly an ounce of uncut heroin worth an estimated $80,000, along with a loaded 9 mm handgun and $9,000 cash.
Defense attorneys argued that Sgt. Ron Hain, who initially pulled over the driver, Johnson, lacked probable cause for the traffic stop and that any evidence obtained from it should be banned.
Hain is a paid contractor for a private law enforcement group called "Desert Snow" that helps teach law enforcement how to spot drug runners and seize their assets. He also published a book, "In Roads: A Working Solution to America's War on Drugs" under the pseudonym of Charles Haines.
"There is sheer bias and motive and intent in this case. He owns what he wrote in that book," Assistant Public Defender Kim Bilbrey argued. "It goes to every bit of his credibility."
Defense attorneys contend Hain was subjective in pulling over Johnson -- who received a warning -- for following a truck too closely when she was in the right lane and doing the 55 mph speed limit. Attorneys also argued Hain unfairly targets vehicles with out-of-state plates as part of his drug interdiction in Interstates 90 and 88.
Tuesday's hearing marked the latest challenge to the legality of one of Hain's drugs arrests.
Last year, a judge ruled a Minnesota man was illegally strip searched after an April 2015 traffic stop, and methamphetamine charges against him were later dismissed.
Earlier this month, a judge ruled a vehicle search after a retired Oregon sheriff deputy was issued a warning from a February 2014 traffic stop was illegal; pounds of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana later seized from storage lockers were banned from court.
In both cases, federal civil rights lawsuits have been filed against Hain and the sheriff's department.
If convicted of the weapons and drug charges, Paddy, Johnson and Cook each faces a minimum of 24 years in prison.
The case is due back in court before Kane County Judge D.J. Tegeler on May 5.