Kansas Trooper Seiler was patrolling I-70 when he saw three vehicles that appeared to be traveling together. All three vehicles were going ten under the limit and all registered out of state. He pulled onto the interstate and got behind the rear vehicle (a compact car) which had California plates that were registered to a rental car company. When he pulled behind the last vehicle, the other two vehicles (a van and a truck) sped up to the speed limit. He passed the compact car and pulled behind the van. The van was registered to a rental company in Arizona. The van committed a traffic infraction and, at about the same time, the truck sped up to ten miles an hour over the speed limit. The truck was registered to an individual in California.

Based on his experience, Trooper Seiler believed the truck and the compact car were escort vehicles for the van. Seiler stopped the minivan. As he approached, he noticed the van had a large amount of cargo. He asked the driver (Berg) if he was moving and Berg responded he was moving from Las Vegas to Minnesota. While he ran the license, he asked Berg about his travel plans. Berg said he was taking his clothes and a TV back to his home in Minnesota. Trooper Seiler thought that the way the minivan was packed with duffel bags was inconsistent with someone moving household goods. At this point, Seiler suspected Berg was trafficking drugs. He asked Berg for consent to search the van but Berg refused. At that point he detained Berg and called for a drug K9. The van was searched after the K9 alerted and recovered 471 pounds of marijuana. Berg sought to suppress the evidence arguing that Trooper Seiler did not have a reasonable suspicion to extend the traffic stop and detain him for a K9 sniff. The district court denied the motion and this appealed followed.

The defendant did not argue the stop was invalid. Rather, Berg argued the extension of the traffic stop into an investigative detention was not supported by a reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity. The court disagreed.  The court noted that reasonable suspicion requires more than a hunch, but it requires less than probable cause and falls “considerably short” of the preponderance of the evidence standard. The District Court had identified the following factors contributing to reasonable suspicion:  (1) Berg was traveling in a rental car; (2) Berg had trouble expressing whether he lived in Las Vegas and what he did there; (3) Berg was nervous because his breathing was shallow and quick throughout the encounter; (4) Berg took an indirect route of travel; and (5) Berg said he was in a rush to get home, but his statements about his travel timeline, rental agreement, and travel route made that assertion implausible. The Tenth Circuit held that under a totality of the circumstances, Trooper Seiler rationally inferred that (1) Berg was traveling in tandem with two escort vehicles; and (2) Berg’s claim he was moving personal possessions with his rental car was likely untrue. Therefore, the continued detention was not unconstitutional.

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