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State v. Gosen

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 9, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Tami Jo Gosen, Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Martin County District Court File No. 46-CR-11-308.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Terry W. Viesselman, Fairmont, Minnesota (for respondent).

Tami Jo Gosen, Truman, Minnesota (pro se appellant).

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Toussaint, Judge. [*]

PETERSON, JUDGE.

In this pro se appeal from a conviction of a fifth-degree controlled-substance offense, appellant argues that the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of her person and vehicle following a traffic stop. We affirm.

FACTS

In early 2011, the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office notified the Martin County Sheriff's Office that appellant Tami Jo Gosen and her husband had been involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine before they moved to Martin County. In response, the Martin County Sheriff's Office distributed photographs of the couple to local pharmacies and asked them to call the sheriff's office if appellant or her husband attempted to purchase pseudoephedrine. On the evening of March 30, 2011, Detective Matthew Owens of the Martin County Sheriff's Office received a phone call from a Walgreens pharmacist who said that appellant had just purchased pseudoephedrine.

The Walgreens pharmacist told Owens that appellant had just left the store and provided a description of appellant's vehicle and her direction of travel. Deputy Jacob Ruppert responded to the call and immediately contacted two other pharmacies to ask if appellant had been there recently. The first pharmacy was closed, but an employee of a Walmart pharmacy told Owens that appellant had "just walked out of the store" after purchasing two boxes of pseudoephedrine. This contact occurred within a half hour of the initial call from the Walgreens pharmacist.

Ruppert was in his patrol car when he saw a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle registered to appellant and appeared to be traveling faster than the posted speed limit. He turned on his radar and determined that the vehicle was traveling 62 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone. Ruppert stopped the vehicle for speeding and identified the driver as appellant. Appellant's teenage son was a passenger. When Ruppert approached the vehicle, he saw that appellant was "extremely nervous or possibly under the influence of narcotics, " and she was "frail or skinny" with "pronounced" cheekbones.

For safety reasons, Ruppert asked appellant to get out of the vehicle. When he patted her down for weapons, he discovered two boxes of Sudafed, which contains pseudoephedrine. Ruppert also saw a white Walgreens bag in the back seat that he believed could contain more pseudoephedrine. When Ruppert asked whether there was any more pseudoephedrine in the vehicle, appellant said that she did not have more than the legal amount she was allowed. Ruppert asked appellant how many boxes of pseudoephedrine she had purchased that day, and she said she had purchased three boxes.

Ruppert placed appellant in the back of his squad car until backup officers arrived. When Ruppert told appellant that they were going to search her vehicle, she said, "Go ahead."[1] Ruppert had also independently decided to search the vehicle, stating as his reasons for doing so:

Well, . . . a combination of everything, with the call from the pharmacy to me calling another pharmacy and having an indication she bought Sudafed at two locations in a short period of time and along with extreme nervousness and possibly under the influence of narcotics while talking to her, and visually ...

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