Roadblocks set up by local authorities to stop drug trafficking are unconstitutional, unlike roadblocks intended to stop drunken drivers who pose an “imminent threat to the lives and safety of the public,” the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Jan. 19.

The case, Commonwealth v. Hector Rodriguez, stemmed from a 1997 roadblock in Holyoke in which 58 vehicles were stopped in a high-crime area. According to the suit, the police had outlined a plan for the roadblock to confiscate narcotics, apprehend anyone suspected of transporting illegal drugs in their vehicles, and deter drug trafficking in the area.