Alice and Bob are driving down the road when they're pulled over by cops. Alice is driving. Bob gets arrested on an outstanding warrant. As Bob's getting out of the car, the cops see a black plastic bag underneath Bob's seat. They ask Alice about the bag. She says, "This? Oh, it's just oregano, officers. A lot of oregano. No, we don't have receipts for it, and, uh, we bought it at ... err, from some guy. But it's just oregano. See?", and gives it to the cop. The cop, upon opening the baggie, sees what looks like oregano. But the volume of the oregano is much more than you'd need for a pizza, so the cop figures it might be marijuana and decides to run a field test on it. Ultimately this field test is turned over to the State Police, which are able to conclusively say it's marijuana. Bob is now facing marijuana possession charges and complains his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
That's exactly what happened here. The defendant was arrested on an outstanding warrant, the arresting officer asked what was in the bag, the driver gave the bag over and said he and the defendant bought 143 gift cards from "someone", but couldn't identify whom, nor provide any receipts, and their business plan was to "resell" these cards for a profit. Put all that together and it's on the same level as telling the cop your weed is oregano -- it's a lie that's completely transparent.
Since the cops were given the evidence, they did not seize it illegally. Since the cops had an incriminating statement from one of the participants, they had probable cause to check for illegality. Legal seizure plus probable cause equals go directly to jail, do not collect a $200 gift card.
This Slashdot headline is misleading to the point of being journalistic malpractice.