United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Allen A. Slaughter, Jr., United States Attorney's Office, 316 North Robert Street, Suite 404, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101, for Plaintiff.
Robert M. Paule, Robert M. Paule, P.A., 920 Second Avenue South, Suite 975, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402, for Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Eduardo Penaloza-Romero's Objections to the May 5th, 2015 Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 272]. In the Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 260] ("R&R"), U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie S. Mayeron recommended that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized Pursuant to Search Warrants [Doc. No. 146] be denied. For the following reasons, the Court overrules Defendant's Objections and adopts the Report and Recommendation in its entirety.
The R&R thoroughly sets forth the factual and procedural background of this case,  and the Court incorporates the R&R by reference and recites facts only to the extent necessary to rule on Defendant's Objections. On September 23, 2014, the Government filed a superseding indictment against several individuals, including Defendant, who are alleged to be involved in a narcotics conspiracy. (R&R at 1.) That same day, the Government obtained warrants to search Defendant's residence and business. (Id. at 3.) Both warrant applications were accompanied by an affidavit from Special Agent Travis Hamblen, which stated, among other things, the following:
Special Agent Hamblen has been a federal law enforcement officer since 1996 and has been assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Task Force Agent for the past five years. (Id.)
Law enforcement has been conducting a controlled substance distribution investigation of the Penaloza Drug Trafficking Organization ("Penaloza DTO") since August 2011. (Id.) The Penaloza DTO is comprised of members of the Penaloza family and is responsible for the large-scale distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. (Id. at 3-4.)
At the time of the investigation, law enforcement had seized approximately $600, 000 in U.S. currency, forty-seven pounds of methamphetamine, ten pounds of marijuana, and a handgun. (Id. at 4.) Law enforcement had also conducted nine controlled substance purchases from Penaloza DTO associates. (Id.)
Defendant is a known leader within the Penaloza DTO who used his automotive repair business as a front for narcotics trafficking. (Id.) Over a period of a year-and-a-half, including on June 26, 2014, the Government repeatedly observed that the business was used to store or transfer narcotics. (Id. at 4-6.)
On July 1, 2014, law enforcement conducted surveillance of two members of the Penaloza family at Defendant's residence. (Id. at 6.) Both individuals left the residence carrying envelopes and were later seen counting money believed to have been in the envelopes. (Id.) The individuals then drove to another apartment and were seen transferring a box to another individual. (Id.) It was later determined that the box contained bundles of marijuana. (Id.)
In late-July and early-August 2014, law enforcement intercepted phone calls between Defendant and an individual known to be a source of methamphetamine for the Penaloza DTO, during which arrangements were made for the shipment of methamphetamine to Minnesota. (Id. at 6-7.) After Defendant was informed that the shipment would soon arrive and was asked for a delivery address, law enforcement intercepted a text message directing the delivery to Defendant's business. (Id.) Ten pounds of methamphetamine were subsequently seized from the delivery vehicle during a traffic stop. (Id. at 7.)
In September 2014, law enforcement intercepted phone calls in which Defendant inquired as to the availability of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. (Id.) He also indicated that he had customers who were waiting for marijuana ...