updated 3/10/2004 11:37:44 AM ET 2004-03-10T16:37:44

A jury on Tuesday found that police didn't act rashly when they peeked inside a baby's diaper and found crack cocaine, convicting the child's father on drug charges.

Walter H. Martin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison for dealing in cocaine, but prosecutors said the sentence could be longer because a child was used in the commission of the crime.

State troopers discovered the drugs after stopping the car Martin was driving for speeding near Evansville last June, prosecutors said.

Martin, 30, was in the car with his 32-year-old wife, Tawana Fairley, and two children, ages 8 years and 18 months.

After State Trooper Timothy Wood learned Martin was a suspect in a drug investigation, a search led Fairley to admit she had marijuana in her socks, prosecutors said.

Another trooper, Douglas Humphrey, took the children to his squad car while the parents were being booked at the county jail. According to court records, Humphrey noticed the baby apparently needed changing and then found the cocaine inside the diaper.

A message left late Tuesday at the office of Martin’s defense attorney, John Goodridge, was not immediately returned.

Goodridge had sought to have the drugs declared inadmissible, claiming there was no probable cause to search the car or the diaper. But federal judge Richard Young ruled Monday that the officers had acted reasonably throughout the stop and search.

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