People v. Haraszewski, 203 Cal. App. 4th 924 (2012).
A police officer was headed to lock the gate at a public beach, but was notified that a car remained there. The officer was notified that a 911 call reported a man and boy at the nude beach that "did not seem right." As he was driving to the parking lot, the officer passed a car driven by a boy "about 11 or 12 years of age." The officer turned around and pulled the car over "on a suspected traffic violation and child endangerment." The man claimed he was giving the boy a driving lesson. A license check revealed the man was a registered sex offender.
The officer placed the man in the police car and began an inventory search of the vehicle, finding Vaseline, condoms, alcohol, a thumb drive, and a digital camera. A second thumb drive was also found under the spare tire in the trunk. A search of the camera revealed nude images of a boy on a beach. At the same time, the boy admitted photos had been taken at the beach.
On appeal, the defendant argued the camera was improperly searched, but the court found "there was a fair probability ... that evidence of a crime involving sexual molestation ... would be found in the digital camera and the thumb drives, and thus the warrantless viewings ... were supported by probable cause."
Flash Drive Technology
There was much more to the Haraszewski than I mentioned, but one of the points I wanted to make was that the defendant had hidden the thumb drive under the spare tire. Luckily the officer thought to check there, but it's not always so easy to identify.
For years, tech companies have been making it more and more difficult to identify flash drives. An American company is now producing cufflinks (shown right) that have two purposes - one acts as a 2GB flash drive, and the other creates a wi-fi hotspot (the pair is priced at $250).
Also, be sure to check out this former post on a flash drive that has a combination case and encryption.