In the past few weeks we have had several calls asking us to conduct surveillance on a relative or ex spouse to determine if they are using illegal drugs or even selling them. We try to explain to the client, that this is very difficult since most drug usage or sales are taking place behind closed doors. We tell them we can do the surveillance to watch their activities and if they are going somewhere to get their drugs or if someone is coming to their location and providing them the drugs. The surveillance may show a transaction where money is exchanged for some sort of package. However there is no way we can say that what was purchased was illegal drugs. The only way to prove that is to actually seize the package and have it analyzed by a lab. This is not going to happen since we are not law enforcement and have no authority to seize anything. We can say we observed activity that was consistent with drug activity / transactions, but we can not testify in court the item purchased was illegal drugs. We strong suggest to our clients before they start paying money for this type of surveillance, they consult with their attorney and get his/her input on this. The attorney is the one that is going to be presenting the evidence in court for the client. Even though the client knows the subject is using or selling drugs, it is another thing to prove it just by surveillance. We advise the client before they start spending money on a case like this that they consult with their attorney. We don't want them spending money on something that cant be proven or even presented in court.
However there is a posiblity that surveillance will show patterns of behavior that are consistent with drug usage and or sales. If that develops then we can go to law enforcement and provide them with the information and see if they will act on it. Sometimes when we suggest this, the client does not want to get law enforcement involved so we are back to how to prove the drug usage and or sales. We are still working on that!