United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DAVID L. BUNNING, District Judge.
Defendant is charged in a two count Indictment with (1) conspiring to knowingly and intentionally distribute and possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846, and (2) conspiring to launder money in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956.
This matter is presently before the Court on four (4) defensive motions from the Defendant: (1) a motion for disclosure of exculpatory and impeachment evidence (Doc. # 30); (2) a motion to preclude co-conspirator hearsay statements (Doc. # 31); a motion to suppress evidence seized from Defendant's residence and vehicle (Doc. # 32); and a motion to dismiss for lack of venue or, alternatively, to transfer venue (Doc. # 33). The motions have been fully briefed (Docs. # 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45), and are thus ripe for review. For reasons explained herein, each motion will be denied.
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
On June 19, 2012, Officer Jarred Grimmett of the DEA Task Force in Las Vegas, Nevada, presented an affidavit to a federal Magistrate Judge for the District of Nevada, for the search of three properties. The affidavit details a coordinated investigation by DEA Agents in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Eastern District of Kentucky into an Oxycodone drug ring involving Defendant Jarral Perkins, Michael Logan, and Brandon Logan (Doc. # 32-1). Upon reviewing the affidavit, United States Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr. authorized the search of the following places: 9301 West Alta, Tower 2, Unite 906, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89135; a "room safe" located in 9301 West Alta, Tower 2, Unite 906, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89135; and a 2011 Infiniti 4-door wagon, license plate LVXR70. Pursuant to the search warrants, officers searched each of those locations and seized the following: $575, 385.00 in U.S. currency, firearms, tools and containers with wax residue, a money counter, phones, and shipping labels from Kentucky. The facts that follow describe the DEA Agents' investigation into Defendant's criminal activities and are gleaned solely from Agent Grimmett's affidavit.
On January 12, 2012, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department ("LVMPD") Officers were called to the Suncoast Hotel and Casino located in Las Vegas, Nevada, because hotel workers had found several thousand pills in a hotel room safe. Upon arriving, officers learned that Chrisada Suwannetr had previously occupied the room and had failed to take the pills with him. Suwannetr returned to the hotel later that day to extend his stay. He was arrested for possession of what was later confirmed to be 8, 729 Oxycodone tablets, 220 Acetampinophen Oxycodone tablets, and 2 Aplrazolam tablets.
Agent Grimmet received information from fellow LVMPD officers about Suwannetr's arrest at the hotel and began an investigation into his involvement in the distribution of controlled substances. Grimmet learned that Suwannetr and his associate, Defendant Jarral Perkins, were being investigated by the Internal Revenue Services for suspected crimes across the United States. Grimmet also learned that both Suwannetr and Defendant had been involved in a suspicious Currency Transaction Report ("CTR") dated March 30, 2011, which indicated that they had received $12, 000.00 from Brandon Logan of Olive Hill, Kentucky.
Suwannetr was released from custody at some point thereafter, although the date of his release is not mentioned in the Affidavit. Upon his release, Grimmet and others conducted surveillance on Suwannetr in an attempt to determine his source of supply. During their surveillance, they continued to observe Suwater meeting with Defendant, confirming that they had some sort of relationship. The Affidavit does not mention that the officers observed Suwannetr or Defendant engage in any nefarious conduct during their meetings.
On June 14, 2012, Las Vegas DEA Agents learned about a drug trafficking operation involving Brandon Logan - who had appeared on the March 30, 2011 CTR - and his brother, Michael Logan, taking place in and around Olive Hill, Kentucky. Las Vegas DEA Agent Frank Hicks received a phone call from Drug Task Force Detective Ned Crisp, an agent in Kentucky, that the Task Force had been conducting an investigation of Brandon Logan. They had recently stopped a vehicle driven by Lewis Roseberry near Olive Hill, and Roseberry admitted to possessing a quantity of Oxycodone pills that he had received from Brandon Logan. Roseberry identified Brandon Logan's address as 2001 State Hwy 1662, Olive Hill, Kentucky 41164, and admitted that he had purchased pills from Logan at that residence on a daily basis.
Pursuant to a search warrant, Drug Task Force Officers conducted a search of Brandon Logan's residence in the afternoon hours of June 14, 2012. While officers were conducting the search, Michael Logan appeared at the front door of his brother's home. Michael Logan admitted to the officers that he was there for the purpose of trafficking in Oxycodone and agreed to speak to detectives. Before speaking, though, officers seized $3, 000.00 from him.
During the interview, Michael Logan advised officers that he had traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, two years earlier and met a man named "Jim" at a pain clinic. Over the two years that followed, Michael Logan received weekly shipments of Oxycodone pills from "Jim, " beginning with 100 pills and increasing to 1, 000 pills, and ultimately totaling in the tens of thousands of pills. Although Michael Logan was not able to provide "Jim's" actual name, he provided officers with "Jim's" physical description, including his approximate height, weight, age, build and physical features. He also described the general area that "Jim" lived and some of "Jim's" social habits. Finally, he provided the last address that he was supposed to use to send drug proceeds back to "Jim."
DEA Agents contacted the DEA Resident Office in Las Vegas, Nevada, in an attempt to identify "Jim." DEA Las Vegas Task Force Agent Shayne Skipworth sent Michael Logan a photograph of the individual that lived at the address he provided. Logan, however, advised that was not the person he knew as "Jim." Through further inquiry, Agent Skipworth learned that DEA and IRS Agents in Las Vegas were investigating Defendant Jarral Perkins, and that he matched the description of "Jim." Agent Skipworth provided Kentucky DEA Agents with Defendant's Nevada driver's license, who, in turn, showed it to Michael Logan. Logan positively identified Defendant as the man he knew as "Jim."
Michael Logan also provided DEA Agents with details about how he received drug shipments from the Defendant. Logan described Defendant as being "meticulous" in the manner he packaged the drugs for shipment. Defendant would frequently store the Oxycodone tables inside a glass jar, and then secret the jar inside an outdoor-style candle. He would ship the candle to fictitious names at various locations in eastern Kentucky, using a variety of shipping services. The packages were then tracked via the internet by their tracking numbers. Logan used the same method to ship drug proceeds back to Defendant in Nevada. Logan also advised that Defendant would send him prepaid cell phones for them to communicate about their shipments.
In addition to the general details about their shipping practices, Michael Logan also advised the officers that he had a package of U.S. currency prepared to ship to Defendant. On June 15, 2012, Michael Logan led detectives to a residence in Olive Hill, Kentucky, where he was storing the package. Detectives found a gift basket containing a large outdoor-style candle, just as Logan had described. Inside the candle, detectives found approximately $34, 960.00 in U.S. currency. Logan advised that Defendant was expecting the package to be sent sometime in the next few days.
Michael Logan also told Agents that he was expecting a shipment of Oxycodone from Defendant. The package had been shipped to a Comfort Inn and Suites, Room 125, in Morehead, Kentucky, and was expected to be delivered on June 15th or 16th. Logan expected that the package would contain approximately 5, 000 30 milligram Oxycodone tablets. Logan also provided Agents with the United States Postal Service tracking number for the package.
Finally, Michael Logan provided Agents with a phone number - (702) 576-5899 - that he used to contact Defendant. Agents recorded four calls between Logan and Defendant. In one of those calls, Defendant mentioned the Oxycodone shipment and its tracking number, and verified that it was to be delivered on June 15th. DEA Agents used the tracking number provided by Defendant to locate the package at a shipping facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Agents contacted the USPS Postal Inspector to confirm the location of the package and requested that the package be held in Morehead, Kentucky.
On June 16, 2012, Agents and Michael Logan went to the post office in Morehead, Kentucky, to examine the package. Logan confirmed that the shipping name and address on the package matched the fictitious information provided by Defendant. Thereafter, Logan signed a consent form for DEA Agents to search the package. Inside the package, Agents found a large outdoor-type candle in a metal tub, just as Logan had previously described. Agents removed the wax from the candle and found a glass jar inside, again just as Logan had described. Inside the glass jar were several sandwich-sized bags, each wrapped in aluminum foil. The bags contained 4, 696 blue tablets, which Agents believed to be 30 milligram Oxycodone tablets.
Two days later, DEA Agents in Las Vegas and Kentucky coordinated efforts for Michael Logan to send Defendant a package purportedly containing U.S. currency as payment for the shipment of Oxycodone. Logan contacted Defendant and told him to expect a shipment of "103" in a forthcoming package. The Affidavit states that "103" is slang for $103, 000.00 in U.S. currency. Defendant thereafter sent Logan a text message with directions to send the package to "J. Patton" at 4591 Ordway Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89139. Logan then guided the Agents as they prepared the package similarly to the way Logan had previously prepared packages to Defendant. The Agents shipped the package to the address provided by Defendant, and tracked it via a UPS tracking number.
Michael Logan called Defendant to confirm that the payment had been shipped. That phone call was recorded by DEA Agents. Logan told Defendant, "Got that out for you should be around 103." Defendant replied, "Okay buddy." Logan later explained to DEA Agents that "103" referred to $103, 000.00 in U.S. Currency.
On June 19, 2012, Agent Grimmet received a copy of an arrest warrant for Defendant Perkins issued by United States Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins of the Eastern District of Kentucky. In an effort to locate and arrest Defendant, Agents set up surveillance at both the package drop-off address and Defendant's residence at 9301 W. Alta, Las Vegas, Nevada. Agents observed an unknown white male drive up to the drop-off address in a white Chevrolet, accompanied by an unknown black male. A short time thereafter, UPS arrived with the package. The white male exited the vehicle, took possession of the package and loaded it into the trunk. The black male got into another vehicle and drove away. The white male then returned to the white Chevrolet and departed the drop-off address.
As Agents trailed the white Chevrolet, other Agents set up outside Defendant's residence. They received word that Defendant had just contacted Michael Logan to confirm the tracking number and estimated delivery time. They then observed Defendant exit his residence and drive away in a 2011 Infiniti 4-door sport utility vehicle. Agents pursued closely behind.
Agents followed both Defendant and the unknown white male to 4631 South Dean Martin, Las Vegas, Nevada. Agents observed Defendant take a package out of the unknown white male's vehicle, place it in his Infiniti and drive off. While Agents followed Defendant, Agent Grimmet contacted the LVMPD and requested that they conduct a traffic stop of Defendant's vehicle. An LVMPD officer responded in a marked vehicle, pulled behind Defendant and initiated his sirens. Defendant pulled into a parking lot and was taken into custody. Defendant later told officers during his administrative processing that he had stored approximately $500, 000.00 in a safe at his residence. He also provided officers with the combination for the safe.
Pursuant to the search warrants at issue here, Agents search Defendant's residence, safe, and vehicle, and seized: $575, 385.00 in U.S. currency, firearms, tools and containers with wax residue, a money counter, phones, and shipping ...