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United States v. Reyes

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 31, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Antonio Reyes 1, Katie Reyes 2, Defendants.

          Daniel Gerdts, Assistant United States Attorney, for Plaintiff.

          Shannon Elkins for Defendant Antonio Reyes.

          Daniel Gerdts for Defendant Katie Reyes

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on May 25, 2017, on Defendant Antonio Reyes' motions to suppress (ECF Nos. 50 and 51), Defendant Katie Reyes' motions to suppress (ECF Nos. 56, 57, 58, and 59), and Defendants' joint request for a Franks hearing (ECF No. 61). This matter was referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. At the hearing, the Government entered exhibits into evidence, and both the Government and Katie Reyes offered testimony.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Antonio Reyes' motion to suppress search and seizure be DENIED (ECF No. 50), and motion to suppress statements be DENIED as moot (ECF No. 51); Katie Reyes' motion to suppress statements and identification be DENIED as moot (ECF Nos. 56, 57), motion to suppress search and seizure be DENIED (ECF No. 58), and motion to suppress electronic surveillance be GRANTED (ECF No. 59); and Defendants' joint request for a Franks hearing (ECF No. 61) be DENIED.

         I. THE INDICTMENT

         On February 23, 2017, a Grand Jury returned an Indictment against Antonio Reyes and Katie Reyes. See generally Indictment, ECF No. 10. Antonio Reyes and Katie Reyes are both charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.§§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846; one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.§§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C); and Antonio Reyes additionally is charged with possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(5) and 924(a)(2). See generally Id. The Indictment alleges that on January 1, 2017, Defendants knowingly conspired to distribute, and possessed with an intent to distribute, a quantity of more than fifty grams of methamphetamine. See generally Id. According to the Indictment, on January 2, 2017, Antonio Reyes, an alien who is illegally in the United States, possessed a Ruger LCP .380 caliber pistol. See Id. at 2.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On August 15, 2016, Officer Andrew Abrahamson of the East Central Minnesota Drug Task Force (“Task Force”) spoke with a confidential informant, identified as CI-11, who claimed that he could purchase methamphetamine from Todd Pedersen at Pedersen's residence in North Branch, Minnesota. CI-11 claimed that he had observed Pedersen in possession of at least ten pounds of methamphetamine. CI-11 informed Abrahamson that Pedersen's supply source was an individual named “Bobby, ” who used drug runners from Arizona to import the methamphetamine.

         On December 12, 2016, Abrahamson spoke with another confidential informant, CI-13, who corroborated CI-11's statements regarding Bobby's use of Arizona drug runners. Specifically, CI-13 claimed that Defendant Katie Reyes was transporting large quantities of methamphetamine from Arizona to Minnesota. CI-13 claimed that she was friends with Katie Reyes, and had observed Katie Reyes with large amounts of currency and methamphetamine within the last year. CI-13 was believed to be Bobby's former girlfriend, and had been previously signed up as a Task Force informant by filling out forms used by law enforcement.

         On December 28, 2016, Abrahamson and another officer met with CI-13, who identified Katie Reyes' photo and provided officers with Katie Reyes' cellular phone number. CI-13 then placed a recorded phone call to Katie Reyes. Katie Reyes stated that she would be traveling to Minnesota soon, and would see Bobby in a few days. Katie Reyes stated that her husband, Defendant Antonio Reyes, had also spoken with Bobby several days before. CI-13 advised Abrahamson that Katie Reyes would not travel to Minnesota without transporting methamphetamine.

         On December 29, 2016, based on the information provided by the informants, Abrahamson obtained a tracking warrant to monitor the location of Katie Reyes' cellular phone. On December 31, 2016, Abrahamson received an electronic hit showing that Katie Reyes was traveling through Kansas and Iowa. On January 1, 2017, Abrahamson received another electronic hit showing that Katie Reyes was traveling through Minnesota.

         At approximately 10:50 a.m., on January 1, 2017, Task Force officers observed Defendants and their children eating inside a restaurant in Albert Lea, Minnesota. At approximately 12:16 p.m., Minnesota State Trooper Brett Westbrook conducted a traffic stop of the gray Lincoln sedan Defendants were traveling in. Westbrook testified that his radar clocked the vehicle at five miles over the posted speed limit. Westbrook testifed that after checking Katie Reyes' drivers license, she stated that the Lincoln was a rental, but the rental agreement did not show that the vehicle was insured nor could she produce proof of private vehicle coverage. Westbrook also observed that Defendants' children were not properly restrained in the passenger rear. Approximately fifteen minutes into the traffic stop, Westbrook asked Katie Reyes to step out of the vehicle to give her a copy of a traffic warning for the several violations. After explaining the warning for approximately one minute, Westbrook segued into a series of questions relating to her destination and whether she was transporting drugs. Approximately eighteen-and-a-half minutes into the traffic stop, Katie Reyes consented to a canine sniff of the Lincoln exterior.

         Westbook and his canine detection dog, “Skippy” then conducted a canine sniff of the vehicle. Westbrook testified that he and Skippy had been a drug detection team since 2009, and the team is trained to detect methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, psilocybin mushrooms, and marijuana. Westbrook testified that Skippy's field accuracy rating is 92.7 percent, and that he and Skippy receive annual training through the United States Police K-9 Association (“USPCA”).

         During the hearing, Westbrook testified that Skippy alerted four times on the rear driver's side during the exterior sniff. Westbrook testified that an alert, “by definition, would be a change in body posture and increased respirations.” Transcript 88, ECF No. 73. Westbrook further testified that Skippy is “trained both to alert and to indicate” and sometimes “will alert but not indicate.” Id.

         Trooper Patrick Ignaszewski, who had arrived on scene to assist Westbrook, conducted a second exterior canine sniff with his dog “Jery.” Ignaszewski testified that he and Jery also receive annual USPCA training and Jery's field accuracy rating is 93.75 percent. During the traffic stop, recorded by Westbrook's squad car video, Ignaszewski commented that Jery picked “something” up during his first pass on the rear vehicle driver's side and went back to the same odor source on the second pass, and the odor was “kind of indiscriminate right now.” ECF No. 66, Gov't 1, 27:45-28:12. Ignaszewski testified that Jery alerted two times by changing “body posture right from the pattern” and “pulling back on [the] same tail light area, trunk side area on the driver's side.” ECF No. 73 at 147. Neither dog indicated by scratching at the pinpoint odor source.

         After the canine sniffs, troopers briefly conferred, and then informed Defendants that they would be searching the Lincoln because the dogs had alerted. During the Lincoln search, troopers found a marijuana vaporizer, an open beer bottle, and a pistol. The troopers then consulted with Task Force officers, who instructed them to secure the vehicle pending a search warrant application. Troopers informed Defendants that they would be towing the Lincoln and obtaining a warrant to search it. At that point, Katie Reyes requested her purse, which was still in the Lincoln. Ignaszewski then reentered the vehicle and retrieved the purse, and searched it.

         Shortly thereafter, troopers transported the family approximately fifteen miles north to the Minnesota State Patrol Station Office in Owatonna, Minnesota. Antonio Reyes and the Reyes' son were placed in one squad car while Katie Reyes and the Reyes' daughter were placed in another. The Lincoln was driven back to the patrol station by an unknown Task Force officer. The Reyes family was permitted to leave the patrol station later that afternoon after Defendants provided statements. The family then checked into a Crossings hotel in Cambridge, Minnesota.

         At 4:46 p.m., that afternoon, Abrahamson obtained a warrant to search the Lincoln. Shortly thereafter, officers searched the vehicle and found a substantial quantity of methamphetamine below the spare tire in the trunk and in a backpack. Officers also found several pistols and ammunition rounds.

         On January 2, 2017, Katie Reyes and CI-13 had a brief phone conversation. Later that day, Defendants were arrested as they were leaving the Cambridge Crossings hotel, in a car driven by CI-13. During Defendants' arrest, officers found a Ruger LCP .380 caliber pistol on Antonio Reyes.

         III. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         A. Moot Motions and Issues (ECF ...


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