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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Salvador E. Casellas, U.S. District Judge]

The question on this appeal is whether the police had reasonable suspicion to stop, and (thereafter) probable cause to arrest, Edgardo Velez-Saldana. There are two chapters to the story: the first is the nighttime seizure of drugs, and the second is the arrest of Velez-Saldana the following morning. The pertinent facts are undisputed, save as indicated below.

Shortly after midnight on March 29, 1998, two police officers were patrolling near the Los Limones sector in the Guayama district of Puerto Rico. Guayama is on the south side of the island, and Los Limones is close to the water. San Juan, the capital, is about fifty miles north of Los Limones. The police describe Los Limones as an isolated and swampish area with many mangrove trees; the area is cut by alleyways and known to be used by drug smugglers.

 
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