The validity of the search warrant depends upon whether the US magistrate issued the warrant based on testimony that established sufficient probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found in the place to be searched. It appears that your cousin (and possibly other individuals) provided certain information about you that resulted in the warrant’s being issued.
Therefore, your attorney must examine the affidavit in support of the search warrant, which will describe in detail the information upon which the law enforcement agents relied to seek the warrant and upon which the US magistrate relied to issue the warrant. The validity of the warrant may be challenged in several ways, depending upon the specific information. If the warrant is invalid, the evidence seized, with limited exception, will be “suppressed,” or excluded from trial. If the warrant is valid, the evidence will be admitted at trial; however, the Government must still prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you knowingly possessed a controlled substance. If you were not at the residence for the three day period prior to the warrant’s being executed, and you live with three others that had access to your room during that time, it will be difficult for the Government to prove that you placed the contraband in that location.
Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
From what you describe, the police developed information that you had drugs in your room. Based on that information (which you contest), the police got a search warrant and found evidence of drugs in your room. The police seized drug paraphernalia and residue not specifically itemized in the warrant. The information the police had received was probably enough to justify the warrant. If so, the police had a right to conduct the search. In addition, they had the right to seize evidence they found in the course of the search even if not particularly named in the warrant. Could you be charged with the evidence they seized (together with the witness who claims you sell)? Absolutely. Your dispute seems to be not with the warrant but whether there is enough evidence to convict you since others could have put the drugs in your room. In order to be arrested and charged, the authorities only need probable cause to believe you committed a crime. Whether they have enough evidence to convict you is a question for the jury. The fact that you can come up with other explanations for why there would be drugs in your room without your knowledge does not mean they do not have a basis to arrest you. The feds will now use the evidence seized to try to build a stronger case against you--more witnesses, contacts from your phones, fingerprints on the baggies, etc. The police do not have to eliminate every possible way you could have drugs in your room before arresting you. You need to retain counsel right away and you should not make any statements to the authorities without your attorney.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
The answer to the specific question you ask is "yes, you can be charged." Law enforcement came to the home with a search warrant and searched the rooms listed in the warrant, finding evidence of criminal activity - that is enough to support charges being filed.
Your larger question appears to be "will I be convicted based on what was found in my room?" and that is more difficult to answer. With a home shared by more than one person, with all rooms being able to be accessed by all those living in the home, it may be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what was found in your room was in fact yours. It may be that there are arguments against the validity of the search warrant.
You need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If charged in federal court (and I have some doubts as to whether this will go forward in federal court, given how little evidence of drug crime was recovered), you will be assigned a federal public defender. It is a good idea to call the office of the federal defender that covers your part of WA - they will have someone answering the phones who can give you some assistance.
Criminal defense Drug related crimes Possession of a controlled substance Distribution of a controlled substance Probable cause and criminal defense Right to counsel in criminal cases Criminal arrest Warrants and criminal charges Search warrant and criminal charges Federal crime Federal court