Fake Drug Checkpoint Garners Criticism, Approval in Mayfield Heights

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Last week, drivers working their way along I-271 may have seen a yellow sign on the side of road bearing foreboding words: DRUG CHECKPOINT AHEAD. In a handful of cases, paranoia kicked in and the eye drops came out of the glovebox.

There was actually *no* checkpoint ahead. But there were officers waiting to see if any drivers reacted to the sign suspiciously.

Four people were stopped, resulting in "some" arrests and "some" drugs seized, according to authorities.

The Cleveland office of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into possible rights violations, but the conventional wisdom stemming from the incidents maintains their legitimacy. As the Associated Press puts it, many are questioning the ethics behind the measure, but there's also a general sense that it's legally copacetic. Here's a quick and likely unsurprising take from one local prosecutor:

Dominic Vitantonio, a Mayfield Heights assistant prosecutor, said the fake checkpoints are legal and a legitimate effort in the war on drugs.

“We should be applauded for doing this,” Dominic Vitantonio said. “It’s a good thing.”

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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