Tampa man sent to jail after refusing to unlock his cellphones

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TAMPA – A Tampa man has been jailed after he refused a judge's order to unlock his mobile phones.

A police officer pulled William Montanez over on June 21 for not properly yielding. During the traffic stop, deputies said they found a small amount of marijuana and asked to search his two mobile phones.

Deputies had obtained a search warrant to access the phones. Montanez refused, setting up a court challenge. On Thursday, Montanez was held in contempt of court after he said he couldn't remember the passcodes for the phones.

Montanez's attorney Parick Leduc told local TV station WTVT that the deputies are on fishing expedition.

“If they arrest you for anything -- whether it’s drugs, guns, you name it -- and an electronic device is nearby, they can get a search warrant and search it. And if you don’t provide that information to search it, to unlock, because you want to keep the information private, we’ll put you in jail,” Leduc told WTVT.

Judge Gregory Holder said Montanez would be released if he unlocks the phone, otherwise Montanez could spend up to six months in jail.