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United States v. Adams

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 25, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Timothy John Adams, Defendant.

          Bradley M. Endicott & Andrew R. Winter, Assistant United States Attorneys, United States Attorney's Office, (for the Government);

          Aaron J. Morrison, Wold Morrison Law, Suite (for Defendant Timothy John Adams).

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Tony N. Leung, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court, United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung, on Defendant Timothy John Adams's Pretrial Motion to Suppress Search and Seizure. (ECF No. 23). This motion has been referred to the undersigned for a report and recommendation to the district court, the Honorable Nancy E. Brasel, District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D. Minn. LR 72.1.

         Defendant is charged via indictment with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, and felon in possession of ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(g)(1) and 924(a)(1). (ECF No. 1). Defendant filed a motion seeking suppression of evidence obtained following a May 24, 2017 arrest. The Government opposes the motion. A hearing was held on December 4, 2018. (ECF No. 25). The Court heard testimony from the following individuals: Investigator Jerry Wilhelmy of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Special Agent Robert Fraik of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and Trooper Nicholas Otterson of the Minnesota State Patrol. The Court received into evidence: Government Exhibit 1 (transcript of May 23, 2017 telephone call between James Jones and Frankie Perez-Rios); Government Exhibit 2 (transcript of May 23, 2017 telephone call between Timothy John Adams and James Jones); Government Exhibit 3 (photograph of items seized from vehicle); Government Exhibit 4 (photograph of items seized from vehicle); Government Exhibit 5 (photograph of methamphetamine seized from vehicle); Government Exhibit 6 (video of traffic stop of Timothy John Adams; and Defendant Exhibit 1 (complaint/summons issued to Timothy John Adams regarding traffic violations). Post-hearing briefing is complete, (ECF Nos. 30, 31), and the motion is ripe for a determination by the Court. Based upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, along with the testimony and evidence presented, the undersigned recommends that Defendant's motion be denied.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         Investigator Jerry Wilhelmy of the Minnesota Department of Corrections monitored several telephone calls that occurred at Minnesota correctional facilities between April 21, 2017 and May 23, 2017. (Tr. 8:5-30:12). Each conversation was between James Jones, also known as “Thirsty” (Tr. 12:3-12:9) and either Defendant Timothy John Adams, also known as “Slim” or “Big Boy” (Tr. 11:3-11:7) or Efrain Perez-Rios, also known as “Frankie” (Tr.12:24-13:3). Adams and Jones are members of the Native Mob gang. (Tr. 11:11-13, 12:6-7, ). Wilhelmy believed that Perez-Rios was a narcotics supplier. (Tr. 13:4-5).

         Wilhelmy first monitored two calls that occurred on April 21, 2017. (Tr. 13:23-14:1). In the first call, beginning at approximately 5:00 p.m. took place between Adams and Jones. During that call, Jones asked Adams what Perez-Rios was charging. (Tr. 14:13-15). Adams responded “ten.” (Tr. 14:13-15). Wilhelmy believed this to be a reference to the price of narcotics. (Tr. 14:4-14).

         Wilhelmy also reviewed two calls that took place on April 26, 2017 and one call that occurred on May 8, 2017. (Tr. 15:17-23; 16:11-19). In the April 26 calls, Jones and Adams discussed what Wilhelmy believed to be certain prices that Perez-Rios was charging a different member of the Native Mob. (Tr. 15:24-16:3; Tr. 13:6-16; 13:14-16). In the May 8 call, Jones asked Adams if “homie” “squared [Adams] away.” (Tr. 16:11-19). Adams responded affirmatively and told Jones that he received “two.” (Tr. 16:18-19). “Homie” is believed to be a reference to Perez-Rios. (Tr. 16:16-17).

         Finally, Wilhelmy reviewed two telephone calls that took place on May 23, 2017. (Tr. 17:7-11; Gvt. Ex. 1 & Ex. 2). In the first telephone call, Jones attempted to arrange for Adams to purchase narcotics from Perez-Rios. (Tr. 20:16-25). Perez-Rios indicated that he had previously sold to Adams before, but that it “takes him like a whole week to come back.” (Gvt. Ex. 1, p. 8). Jones told Perez-Rios that was because some buyers purchased narcotics from him at lower prices. (Tr. 21:23-22:8; Gvt. Ex. 1, p. 8). At some point during the call, Perez-Rios told Jones that Adams would not “be here till tomorrow.” (Gvt. Ex. 1, p. 8). Perez-Rios lived in Minneapolis. (Tr. 23:6-10).

         Jones and Adams also spoke on May 23, 2017. (Gvt. Ex. 2). During that call, they discussed prices that Perez-Rios charged other Native Mob members (Tr. 23:21-24:7; Gvt. Ex. 2, pp. 2-3). Jones also told Adams that the more money that he would pay up front, the more drugs Perez-Rios would provide him. (Gvt. Ex. 2, p. 11). Jones also told Adams he needed to sell the drugs that he received as soon as possible so that he could pay Perez-Rios back at a quicker pace. (Tr. 25:7-21; Gvt. Ex. 2, pp. 12-13).

         Wilhelmy believed, based on the information that he obtained in these calls, that a narcotics transaction had been arranged. (Tr. 26:14-24). He alerted Special Agent Robert Fraik of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. (Tr. 26:23-24; 31:8-13). Fraik began to conduct surveillance of Adams's residence, located in Cass Lake, on the evening of May 23. (Tr. 33:7-21). Fraik observed several vehicles parked at Adams's house, including a red Ford Expedition. (Tr. 33:11-34:4).

         When Fraik returned to Adams's residence on May 24, There, he noticed that the red Ford Expedition was missing. (Tr. 34:22-25). He asked other agents in the area to assist him in locating it. (Tr. 34:22-35). One agent located it traveling south on Highway 10, near Royalton. (Tr. 35:17-21). Those agents followed the vehicle to a medical clinic located in St. Paul and then to a Car X repair shop. (Tr. 36:7-15). At some point that afternoon, after 1:00 p.m., Fraik traveled to the Car X shop and begin surveilling the vehicle himself. (Tr. 37:2-6).

         Fraik observed Adams and his significant other, Ashley Howard leave the area for a short time, before Adams returned to the Car X shop by himself at approximately 3:10 p.m. (Tr. 37:14-38:17). Adams entered the Car X shop and came out with a plastic bag. (Tr. 38:21-39:2). Fraik noticed that the bag “had bulk, ” but could not identify what was in it. (Tr. 39:7-10). ...


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