United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on a motion by Defendant, George
Kudmani, to suppress the search of his residence [DN 176].
Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision.
February of 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration
(“DEA”) and the Louisville Metro Police
Department (“LMPD”) began investigating Dr.
George Kudmani for illegal distribution of controlled
substances. On September 6, 2012, DEA Special Agent Milton
Galanos applied for a search warrant for Kudmani's
medical practice and his residence for violations of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), Illegal Distribution of Controlled
Substances; 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 1957, Money Laundering;
and 18 U.S.C. § 1347, Health Care Fraud. Based on the
application and Galanos's affidavit, Magistrate Judge
James D. Moyer issued the search warrant authorizing agents
to search both Kudmani's medical practice and his
residence. A search of the medical practice and residence
occurred on September 6, 2012. At the residence, agents
located and seized approximately $20, 000 in cash bound by
rubber bands in Kudmani's closet, tax return documents,
financial records, and a prescription pad.
contends that the evidence obtained in the search of his
residence and his subsequent statement should be suppressed.
First, Defendant argues that the affidavit used to secure the
search warrant for his residence left everything thing to the
discretion of the officer executing the warrant. Second,
Defendant maintains that the affidavit is wholly lacking in
probable cause to believe that any evidence of criminal
activity could be found at his residence.
Fourth Amendment requires that “no Warrants shall issue
[unless they] particularly describ[e] the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” U.S.
Const. amend. IV. “The purpose of the particularity
requirement is to limit the discretion of law enforcement
officers in conducting a search. But particularity is not an
overly onerous standard.” United States v.
Taylor, 2010 WL 3190740, *1 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 11, 2010).
The degree of specificity required in search warrants
“is flexible and will vary depending on the crime
involved and the types of items sought.” United
States v. Henson, 848 F.2d 1374, 1383 (6th Cir. 1988).
“Thus a description is valid if it is as specific as
the circumstances and the nature of the activity under
investigation permit.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Blum, 753 F.2d 999, 1001 (11th Cir. 1985)).
argues that the warrant amounted to a general warrant and,
thus, inappropriately vested executing officers with
discretion in determining the scope of the search warrant.
Defendant contends that the warrant permitted officers to
rummage through Kudmani's personal belongings to find
evidence of unspecified crimes. The Court disagrees. Here,
the warrant and supporting affidavit made clear that the
detectives were authorized to search for and seize items
relating to the specific offenses of illegal distribution of
controlled substances, money laundering, and health care
fraud. The warrant also set forth specific classes of items,
thus limiting the officers' discretion. Specifically, the
affidavit lists patient files, bank accounts, books, records,
receipts, currency, safes, lock boxes, computer and
electronic equipment, controlled substances, and prescription
pads, to name a few. “This was sufficient information
to ensure that the officers could distinguish between
contraband, which was subject to seizure, and legally
possessed property, which was not.” United States
v. Raglin, 2015 WL 5198123, *4 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 4, 2015),
aff'd, 2016 WL 5754008 (6th Cir. Oct. 4, 2016).
Probable Cause for Search Warrant
Fourth Amendment provides that “no Warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. In determining
whether an affidavit establishes probable cause to issue a
search warrant, “[t]he task of the issuing magistrate
is simply to make a practical, common-sense decision whether,
given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before
him, . . . there is a fair probability that contraband or
evidence of a crime will be found in a particular
place.” Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238
(1983). In order to establish probable cause to search, a
warrant request “must state a nexus between the place
to be searched and the evidence sought.” United
States v. Bethal, 245 Fed.Appx. 460, 464 (6th Cir. 2007)
(internal citations omitted). “The belief that the
items sought will be found at the location to be searched
must be ‘supported by less than prima facie
proof but more than mere suspicion.'” Id.
(quoting United States v. Johnson, 351 F.3d 254, 258
(6th Cir. 2003)).
contends that the affidavit is wholly lacking in probable
cause to believe that any evidence of criminal activity could
be found at Dr. Kudmani's residence. Defendant argues
that the allegations made in the affidavit solely center upon
Kudmani's medical practice and the writing of
prescriptions or performance of ultrasounds from his office.
Kudmani maintains that there are no allegations of criminal
activity taking place at his residence. Kudmani argues that
the only attempt to tie any activity to Kudmani's
residence is an allegation that Kudmani left his office on
July 2, 2012 with approximately $700 in his pocket and did
not stop at a financial institution before going home.
Kudmani maintains that this statement is far from sufficient
to provide probable cause to believe that a search of his
residence, two months after Kudmani drove home and did not
stop at any financial institution, would reveal evidence of
Court reviews a warrant issued by a judge with “great
deference” to that judge's determination as to
probable cause. Gates, 462 U.S. at 236 (quoting
Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, 419
(1969)). A judge “may give considerable weight to the
conclusion of experienced law enforcement officers regarding
where evidence of a crime is likely to be found and is
entitled to draw reasonable inferences about where evidence
is likely to be kept, based on the nature of the evidence and
the type of offense.” United States v.
Caicedo, 85 F.3d 1184, 1192 (6th Cir. 1996) (quoting
United States v. Lawson, 999 F.2d 985, 987 (6th Cir.
reviewing Special Agent Galanos's Affidavit for Search
Warrant in its entirety, this Court finds that probable cause
for the search warrant was established considering the
totality of the circumstances. The affidavit reflects that
patients paid Kudmani cash for narcotic prescriptions without
an exam; an employee corroborated this information; the
employee indicated that Kudmani received approximately $1000
in cash per day; and that there is no cash drawer in the
office. The affidavit further reflects that on July 2, 2012,
surveillance was conducted at Kudmani's medical office.
Officers observed Kudmani exit the office and drive directly
to his residence. Affiant noted that at no time did Kudmani
stop at a financial institution. The employee informed police
that Kudmani had 20 cash paying patients on July 2, 2012, and
that Kudmani had received approximately $700 in cash on that
day. Affiant Special Agent Galanos stated that
“[s]urveillance revealed that Kudmani went from his
office directly to his residence without stopping to make a
cash deposit, therefore, probable cause exists that the
fruits of the illegal drug prescription practice are being
secreted at his residence.” (Search Warrant Affidavit
¶ 28.) The affidavit further reflects that Kudmani
purchased a 2012 Honda Accord on December 2, 2011, with $15,
000 in cash and a check. Furthermore, based on his 30 years
of experience and training, Special Agent Galanos averred
that most criminals who launder money from illegal activities
often conceal and hide cash, tax records, and other paper or
electronic financial records in their residence. Under these