Obtaining A Search Warrant Can Take Months


When Star Valley resident Paul Michael Jimenez refused to open his door Saturday morning, officers from the Payson Police Department, armed with a search warrant, forced the door open.

The Payson Police Department has been investigating Jimenez, 47, for months after receiving tips from neighbors that there was a lot of traffic coming and going from the Lazy D Ranch Apartments and RV Resort. The information led police to believe that the person

at the residence could be selling illegal drugs. Jimenez was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of marijuana, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of misconduct involving weapons.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler said officers recovered about $4,000 worth of illegal drugs, including 2.5 ounces of methamphetamines and two grams of cocaine.

Search warrants are becoming more common in Payson, though to get one takes a lot of time, especially if drugs are involved.

"We take all the pieces and start compiling the information," Engler said.

When the police department tries to obtain a search warrant, it must be able to show probable cause, which sometimes can be difficult to do, Engler said.

It not unusual to build a case over four to six months before asking a judge for a search warrant.

"We keep adding to the process," he said. Officers investigated Jimenez for four months before asking for the search warrant.

When drugs are involved, the suspect is placed under surveillance.

Engler said if police had gone to a judge two weeks ago in the Jimenez case, he doubts they could have obtained a warrant because there was not enough information. Officers, he said, were able to get more information in the following weeks to convince police they could obtain a warrant.

Engler said the threshold of getting a warrant and proving probable cause is extremely high because residents have a right to privacy in their homes.

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