United States District Court, D. Minnesota
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau
dated October 28, 2019. (Docket No. 122.) In the R&R,
Magistrate Judge Rau recommended granting Defendant's
Motion to Suppress. The Government filed timely objections to
the R&R (Docket No. 129) and Defendant responded to those
objections. (Docket No. 139.) The matter is now ripe for this
Court's review, which is de novo. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); D. Minn. L.R. 72.2(b). For the following reasons,
the Court declines to adopt the R&R.
factual background in this matter is set forth in the
thorough R&R and will not be repeated here. Facts
necessary to an understanding of the legal discussion will be
incorporated into that discussion below.
Jose Alfredo Penaloza Romero challenges his arrest and the
subsequent search of his apartment. The R&R found that
the arrest was not supported by probable cause and that, as a
result of that error and other alleged misstatements in the
search warrant application, the warrant was also not
supported by probable cause. The R&R therefore
recommended that Romero's Motion to Suppress the evidence
obtained during the search of his apartment be granted.
comport with the Fourth Amendment, a warrantless arrest such
as that here may be accomplished only “if the officer
has probable cause to believe the person has committed a
crime.” Peterson v. Kopp, 754 F.3d 594, 598
(8th Cir. 2014). That belief must be “particularized
with respect to the person to be [arrested].”
Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366, 371 (2003)
(citation omitted). “In assessing the question of
probable cause in this case, we consider whether the facts
and circumstances are sufficient ‘to warrant a man of
reasonable caution in the belief that' [the defendant]
was involved in the commission of a crime.” United
States v. Chauncey, 420 F.3d 864, 870 (8th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160,
facts of Chauncey are instructive. In
Chauncey, a trooper noticed that the van the
defendant was driving had expired tags. Id. at 869.
He followed the van into a parking lot and started a
conversation with the defendant, who had exited the vehicle.
Id. The trooper then approached the car and noticed
the female passenger, whom the defendant had identified as
the van's owner, behaving suspiciously. Id. He
smelled marijuana and seized the passenger's purse,
ultimately arresting her for possession of marijuana.
Id. He then arrested the defendant. Id.
defendant argued that probable cause was lacking for the
arrest, contending that his mere proximity to his
passenger's crime was insufficient to implicate him.
Id. at 871. The Eighth Circuit found that there was
sufficient evidence of a “common enterprise”
between the defendant and his passenger to establish the
requisite probable cause. Id.
an unidentified individual directed a confidential source to
bring a large amount of methamphetamine to the La Quinta
hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota. The unidentified individual
told the source that someone would meet him at the La Quinta.
On April 5, 2019, Romero and his co-Defendant Enrique Becerra
arrived at the La Quinta in Romero's vehicle, with Romero
driving. Becerra retrieved a backpack from the back of
Romero's vehicle, entered the hotel, and exchanged the
backpack for what he thought was the methamphetamine.
Officers arrested Becerra in the hotel and Romero in his car.
The R&R found that law enforcement did not have a
particularized reasonable belief to arrest Romero and thus
that his arrest violated the Fourth Amendment. (R&R at
in Chauncey, there was sufficient evidence of a
common enterprise between Becerra and Romero here to support
Romero's arrest. Romero had been the target of a law
enforcement investigation into a large-scale methamphetamine
distribution ring, and when he arrived at the La Quinta, law
enforcement knew who he was. (Tr. (Docket No. 102) at 17.)
The fact that a suspected drug dealer drove another
individual to a hotel, where the other individual then
attempted to retrieve a large amount of drugs, is sufficient
to establish a reasonable officer's belief in a
“common enterprise” between the vehicle's
occupants. Romero's arrest was constitutional.
R&R invalidated the search of Romero's apartment for
two reasons. First, the R&R found that, because
Romero's arrest was constitutionally infirm, the search
of his apartment performed using the keys seized was also
unconstitutional. Second, the R&R determined that the
warrant affidavit contained a false statement, or at the
least a statement made with reckless disregard for the truth.
(R&R at 11 (citing Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S.
154, 171 (1978)).) Having determined ...