United States District Court, D. Minnesota
P. Steinkamp, Assistant United States Attorney, Minneapolis,
MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.
J. Leunig, Esq., and Justin J. Duffy, Esq., The Law Office of
John J. Leunig, Minneapolis, MN on behalf of Defendant
Rodolfo Anguiano, Jr.
Patrick G. Leach, Esq., Leach Law Office LLC, St. Louis Park,
MN on behalf of Defendant Kelvin Baez.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge
for a ruling on Plaintiff United States of America's (the
“Government”) Amended Objection [Docket No. 156]
to Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz's October 23, 2017
Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 138]
(“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Schultz
recommends granting Defendant Rodolfo Anguiano, Jr.'s
(“Anguiano”) Motion for Suppression [Docket No.
67] and granting Defendant Kelvin Baez's
(“Baez”) Motion to Suppress [Docket No. 41];
Motion to Suppress Statements, Admissions, and Answers
[Docket No. 51]; and Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as
a Result of Search and Seizure [Docket No. 53]. The Government
objects to the R&R's recommendation that all of the
motions be granted. For the reasons set forth below, the
Amended Objection is overruled in part and sustained in part.
Government's initial Objection [Docket No. 147] exceeded
the word count limit in Local Rule 72.2(c) and did not
include a certificate of word count compliance as required in
Local Rule 72.2(c)(3). Anguiano and Baez moved to strike the
Government's initial Objection for failure to comply with
the word count limit. See Anguiano's Mot. Strike
[Docket No. 151]; Baez's Mot. Strike [Docket No. 155].
The Motions to Strike also requested dismissal of the
Indictment and release from custody. Id. The Court
allowed the Government to file an Amended Objection and gave
Defendants Anguiano and Baez 14 days to respond. See
Order [Docket No. 157]. Accordingly, the Court grants the
Motions to Strike to the extent the Motions request that the
Government's initial Objection be stricken, and denies
the Motions to Strike to the extent the Motions request
dismissal of the Indictment and release from custody.
Traffic Stop and Arrest of Anguiano
5, 2017, at approximately 7:15 p.m., while on routine patrol,
Bloomington Police Officer Jacob Gruber (“Officer
Gruber”) was parked near the Days Inn in West
Bloomington when he observed a red Volkswagen Jetta with
California license plates enter the Days Inn parking lot.
Hr'g Tr. [Docket Nos. 114, 115] at 33-34, 36-38. Officer
Gruber had seen the red Jetta in the Days Inn parking lot
about a week earlier. Id. at 38. Officer Gruber
regularly patrolled the hotel area near the Days Inn and
considered it to be a “high crime” area of drug
trafficking, prostitution, and other crimes typically
occurring in an area of moderately priced hotel franchises.
Id. at 36-37, 93. He routinely checked the
registration of the vehicles in the Days Inn parking lot and
checked the hotel roster for the names of the people staying
there. Id. at 38. On the day he first saw the Jetta,
he learned from his routine checks that its registration was
expired and that the registered owner, Elizabeth Sanchez, was
not listed on the hotel roster. Id.
Officer Gruber observed the Jetta on May 5, he began to
follow it as it left the Days Inn parking lot. Id.
at 41-42. While trailing the Jetta, Officer Gruber performed
a vehicle registration check and confirmed that the
registration was still expired. Id. at 42. When the
car's tires crossed over the lane divider, Officer Gruber
activated his squad's lights and stopped the Jetta.
Id. at 43-44.
Officer Gruber approached the Jetta, the first thing he
noticed was an “overwhelming odor of air
fresheners.” Id. at 46. He observed in plain
view of the car's interior dryer sheets all over the
floor in the front and back of the car. Id. Officer
Gruber knew from his narcotics training that drug traffickers
have used dryer sheets to mask the odor of the drugs to
frustrate drug-detecting canines detecting the drugs.
Id. at 35, 48.
the driver, was the sole occupant in the vehicle.
Id. at 45. Officer Gruber requested Anguiano's
license and proof of insurance and asked if he owned the
vehicle. Gov't Ex. 2 (“Video Tr.”) at 2;
Hr'g Tr. at 49. Anguiano responded that he just bought
the vehicle, had not yet registered it, and did not have the
title with him. Video Tr. at 2-3; Hr'g Tr. at 50. He
stated that he had purchased the vehicle at an auction. Video
Tr. at 22. Anguiano also lacked documentary proof of
insurance, but told Officer Gruber that the vehicle was
covered under his policy for 30 days. Video Tr. at 5;
Hr'g Tr. at 49. When Officer Gruber mentioned the
presence of the dryer sheets, Anguiano replied that the car
had a leak and smelled like gas. Video Tr. at 11.
told Officer Gruber that he had been in town for three days
to attend a cousin's wedding that was taking place on
Saturday. He said he had initially been staying at the Days
Inn and was now staying at the nearby Embassy Suites on
American Boulevard, where he was headed before he was
stopped. Video Tr. at 3-4, 6; Hr'g Tr. at 50-51.
Officer Gruber told Anguiano that he had seen the Jetta at
least a week earlier, Anguiano explained that his cousin had
driven the car to Minnesota and that he had flown because he
had to work. Video Tr. at 11, 19; Hr'g Tr. at 51-52.
Based on his training, Officer Gruber was aware that drug
traffickers commonly pay another person drive their
“load” car to a location and then fly to the
location to retake possession of the car. Hr'g Tr. at 52.
When Officer Gruber asked Anguiano how he was getting back,
he responded that he was going fly home on Monday and would
be selling the car, as he frequently buys and sells cars.
Video Tr. at 20, 22-23.
Gruber requested a criminal history report from dispatch and
learned that Anguiano had prior arrests for “alien
smuggling, controlled substance, and . . . possession of
pills.” Hr'g Tr. at 52-53, 101. When Officer Gruber
asked Anguiano if he had ever been “in trouble for
narcotics” or “arrested before, ” Anguiano
said he had been arrested before but only for diet pills and
not for narcotics. Video Tr. at 12. Officer Gruber felt
Anguiano was “being dishonest or at least evasive about
questions, ” and that he was “lying about certain
things or at least what [Officer Gruber] believe[d] to be
lies.” Hr'g Tr. at 54-55.
on his suspicion of drug trafficking, Officer Gruber called a
K-9 handler and drug-detecting canine to the scene.
Id. at 53-54. The handler told Officer Gruber that
the canine had shown interest in the undercarriage but did
not give a final alert. Id. at 57. Officer Gruber
returned to his squad car and spoke with another officer
about how to proceed. Video Tr. at 27-28. He decided he would
release Anguiano without giving him a ticket. Hr'g Tr. at
Officer Gruber returned to Anguiano's car and handed back
his license, Anguiano opened his wallet and Officer Gruber
saw a Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) badge
affixed to the inside flap of the bifold wallet. Id.
at 58-61; Gov't Ex. 4. The badge wallet held about a
dozen plastic cards that Officer Gruber presumed to be credit
cards. Hr'g Tr. at 59. Officer Gruber asked Anguiano to
step back out of his car and explain why he had the DEA
badge. Video Tr. at 26. Anguiano explained that he had
purchased the badge through eBay for Halloween “a long
time ago” and now carried it with his credit cards.
Id.; Hr'g Tr. at 62; Video Tr. at 26. Using his
cell phone, Anguiano showed Officer Gruber websites that sold
fake DEA badge wallets. Hr'g Tr. at 107.
Gruber returned to his squad car and called Sergeant Cory
Cardenas (“Sergeant Cardenas”) to discuss the
badge in Anguiano's wallet. Id. at 63, 271, 273. In
turn, Sergeant Cardenas called Detective Tom Maloney
(“Detective Maloney”) to determine whether the
badge was real and whether it had been stolen. Id.
at 204, 206, 276-77. Detective Maloney reviewed a DEA contact
list and determined that Anguiano was not a DEA officer.
Id. at 206. He also contacted the DEA's
Intelligence Center in El Paso, Texas to ask if Anguiano was
a subject of other DEA investigations. Id. at
208-09. Detective Maloney learned that Anguiano was not
currently under investigation but had “a prior arrest
for alien smuggling and some kind of drug case, ” and
had crossed the Mexico/United States border about 20 times in
the last “couple” of years. Id. at
209-10. Detective Maloney then called Sergeant Cardenas back
and relayed this information. Id. at 210. Through
his discussions with Detective Maloney, Sergeant Cardenas
became “a hundred percent sure” that the badge
was not real. Id. at 275-76.
Cardenas drove to the scene, where he and Officer Gruber
arrested Anguiano. Id. at 276. Officer Gruber
initially testified that he arrested Anguiano for identity
theft but later stated Anguiano was arrested for both
identity theft and obstructing legal process. Id. at
63, 115-16. Sergeant Cardenas testified that Anguiano was
arrested for obstructing legal process. Id. at 276.
Search of Anguiano's Car
the arrest, Anguiano's car was searched. Id. at
64, 279. The officers found a satchel with an imitation DEA
badge and imitation FBI badge, four $1, 000 bundles of cash,
and credit cards with names other than Anguiano's.
Id. at 64-65. The Jetta interior appeared to have
been altered because the dashboard was loose and came apart
easily. Id. at 65, 279-80. No drugs or contraband
were found in the vehicle. Id. at 65, 116-17. The
car was impounded and Anguiano was transported to the
Bloomington jail. Id. at 65-66.
Search of Hotel Room
the car was towed away, Officer Gruber drove to the nearby
Embassy Suites to continue his investigation. Id. at
67, 128-30. The front desk confirmed that Anguiano was
registered to room 714. Id. at 68. Officer Gruber,
Sergeant Cardenas, and a third officer, Officer Danner, went
to the room and knocked on the door. Id. at 68,
129-30. From inside the room, a woman later identified as
Defendant Zyaira Marie Gavino (“Gavino”) moved a
curtain from an interior window next to the door and looked
out at the three uniformed officers. Id. at 69. She
then opened the door, and Sergeant Cardenas asked her if they
could come inside and speak to her about a
“matter.” Id. at 70, 283-84. Gavino
opened the door wider, stepped back, and waved her arm to
gesture the officers into the room. Id. at 70, 285.
inside Room 714 was a living room area that included a
pull-out couch and a sink. Id. at 71, 76, 191, 304.
A separate bedroom was down a small, open hallway.
Id. at 71, 76. A man later identified as Baez was
sitting on the couch in the living room. Id. at 71.
Gavino told Officer Gruber that they were there visiting a
friend at the hotel and had been staying with him a few days.
Id. at 75. Gavino stated that she knew the friend
only by his nickname. Id.
initially scanning the living room, Officer Gruber and
Sergeant Cardenas observed a glass methamphetamine pipe with
residue in plain view on an end table next to Baez.
Id. at 72-73, 286. Officer Gruber also saw a
backpack, suitcase, and other luggage in the living room
where Baez and Gavino were sitting. Id. at 72. Upon
observing the methamphetamine pipe, Sergeant Cardenas left
the room to speak with the front desk about what had been
found and to ask if the hotel staff wanted to evict Gavino
and Baez. Id. at 286-87.
Gruber testified that he asked for Gavino's consent to
search. Id. at 75. She said yes and pointed to a
suitcase, backpack, and bags that were hers. Id.
Officer Gruber further testified that he then requested and
received Gavino's consent to search the room.
Id. Sergeant Cardenas was present during the
conversation in which Gavino gave consent to search her
personal items, but did not hear Officer Gruber ask if he
could search elsewhere in the room. Id. at 333.
Sergeant Cardenas testified that he may have left the room to
go to the front desk at the time Officer Gruber asked for and
received permission to search the entire room. Id.
Gruber searched Gavino's backpack and found a small bag
with four .22 round bullets. Id. at 78. The backpack
also contained an owner's manual for a Chevy Equinox that
matched a set of GM keys Officer Gruber saw in plain view on
the living room couch. Id.
Gruber then began to search the entire suite. Id. at
76-79. The back bedroom contained a large armoire that was
locked with a rigid chain lock. Id. at 76-77. The
officers also observed in plain view what appeared to be
pound packaging in an open-topped garbage can in the back
bedroom. Gov't Ex. 5 (“Search Warrant Aff.”)
at 3. In the far corner of the bedroom, the officers observed
that a cell phone had been propped up to face the armoire.
Hr'g Tr. at 77. The cell phone appeared to be monitoring
the armoire by streaming a live video image from the phone
camera to a Facebook Live website. Id. Officer
Gruber asked Baez where narcotics might be if any were in the
room, and he testified that Baez responded, “Well, in
the armoire, obviously.” Id. at 79. Based on
this comment, Officer Gruber requested a K-9 officer to
conduct a dog sniff of the room. Id. at 81. The drug
dog alerted to the armoire and to a dresser next to it.
Gruber “popped off” the front panel of a sink
cabinet in the back bedroom and found a plastic bag that
contained a pillowcase with two large bundles of what he
believed to be multiple pounds of methamphetamine.
Id. at 79. Upon finding the suspected drugs, the
officers decided to freeze the room and obtain a search
warrant to search the rest of the room, including the
armoire, and the Chevy Equinox. Id. at 80.
the search warrant arrived, the officers searched the armoire
and found additional methamphetamine and a handgun.
Id. at 83-84. They also searched the Chevy Equinox
and found methamphetamine, marijuana, and a gun. Id.
and Baez were then arrested and transported to the
Bloomington police department, where they were interviewed