Submitted: Sept. 27, 2013.
Ann M. Koszuth, Asst. Fed. Public Defender, Springfield, MO, argued (Raymond C. Conrad, Jr., Fed. Public Defender, Kansas City, MO, on the brief), for appellant.
Randall D. Eggert, Asst. U.S. Atty., Springfield, MO, argued (Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Atty., Kansas City, MO, on the brief), for appellee.
Before LOKEN, COLLOTON, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Timothy Stringer entered a conditional guilty plea to producing child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a). The district court sentenced Stringer to 360 months' imprisonment. Stringer appeals an order of the district court  denying his motion to suppress evidence. He also appeals a pretrial ruling of the district court  excluding evidence that one of the minors involved in Stringer's production of child pornography was emancipated at the time the photographs were taken. We affirm.
On June 14, 2010, Trooper T.W. Hilburn of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was on duty in Cassville, Missouri. Hilburn observed a car leaving a residence known for drug activity. Hilburn stopped the vehicle because it was missing license plates and did not have working taillights.
When Hilburn approached the car, he observed Stringer, then thirty-three years old, in the driver's seat. There were two young, female passengers: G.R., then fifteen, in the front seat and A.K., then seventeen, in the back. Stringer said he had just purchased the car but had not yet licensed it. Hilburn obtained paperwork from Stringer, returned to his patrol car to run a computer check, and walked back to Stringer's vehicle. At that point, he noticed " pretty quickly" that G.R.'s eyes were " very dilated." Hilburn suspected that both female passengers were under the influence of illegal drugs, so he called the chief of police in Cassville and requested that she bring a drug dog to the scene.
Having verified that the vehicle had a valid Arkansas title, Hilburn returned Stringer's paperwork and told him that he was free to leave, but that he could not drive away the vehicle without license plates and functioning taillights. Hilburn requested permission to search Stringer's vehicle; Stringer refused. Stringer then inquired whether he could leave if he fixed the taillights. Hilburn replied that Stringer could attempt to fix the lights but that because the drug dog was en route, the vehicle could not leave.
When Stringer got out of the car, Hilburn observed a knife in Stringer's pocket and asked him to remove it for safety reasons. Stringer emptied his pockets, and one object then displayed was a case for contact lenses. Hilburn asked permission to examine the case, and Stringer consented. Upon opening the case, Hilburn noticed a white crystalline substance around the edges of the lid and saw a white " blob" in the center of each compartment. Hilburn suspected the substance was methamphetamine and asked the dispatcher to send an officer with a field test kit.
Ten minutes later, an officer arrived with a drug test kit. The contact lens case tested positive for methamphetamine. Hilburn ...