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How Search Warrants Work: Part 2.

Updated: May 11, 2022

The Gardai rarely go straight for the stash. The reason they don’t do this is because if they did, then the dealer would suspect the last person who had come to their door and who saw where they hid the stash.

If the Guards are turning up at your door then the obvious suspect in your mind is the last person you gave drugs to.

We were told where the drugs were located but were given strict instructions not to search this area until every other room in the house was searched thoroughly.

So to protect the identity of the informant the Guards will sometimes conduct a ‘ghost search’.

This is where the search party spend a lot of time searching in places around the suspect’s home where they know that there are no drugs.

You know full well where the drugs are located in the house -the informant told you after all- but in order to protect their identity you have to search in all the places where you know there are no drugs.

This is tedious but as the objective is the protection of the informant it is understandable.

I participated in a search just like this one time.

A student was arrested in possession of drugs and rather than have his mother and father find out, told the detectives where he had gotten the drugs from.

A search warrant was obtained from a suitably pliable Peace Commissioner (at a time when they could sign search warrants) and we descended on the house.

We were told by the detectives where the drugs were located in the house (in this case behind a wood panel at the back of the microwave oven in the kitchen) but we were given strict instructions not to search this particular area until every other room in the house was searched thoroughly.

Finally after what seemed like an age the kitchen area was searched, but even then the space behind the microwave oven escaped any serious attention until at the last second a ‘bolt of inspiration’ caused one of the detectives to run his finger along the edge of the wood panelling and pry it loose from the wall. And voila!

But if Peace Commissioners can’t sign warrants to search homes anymore, who can?

Well, Judges of course.

How this process works is covered in part 3.

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