United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. REEVES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Nestor Barron has moved to suppress the fruits of law
enforcement's July 1');">18, 201');">17, search of 629 Dartmoor Drive
in Lexington.[1');">1" name="FN1');">1" id=
"FN1');">1">1');">1] [Record No. 31');">1] The motion was referred to
United States Magistrate Judge Robert Wier for review and
issuance of a report and recommendations pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1');">1)(B). Neither party requested an
evidentiary hearing. After fully considering the record,
Magistrate Judge Wier issued a Recommended Disposition on
October 1');">12, 201');">17, concluding that the defendant's motion
should be denied. [Record No. 53');">53');">53');">53] Defendant Barron thereafter
filed objections to the Recommended Disposition. [Record No.
reviewed the record along with the Recommended Disposition
and the defendant's objections, the Court concludes that
the motion to suppress should be denied.
Police Detective Matt Evans swore to the affidavit at issue
and, on July 1');">17, 201');">17, obtained a warrant to search the
residence at 629 Dartmoor Drive, two vehicles, and the person
of Fernando Rafael Lara Salas. [Record No. 31');">1-1');">1] In his
affidavit, Detective Evans described an investigation of a
large-scale cocaine trafficking organization that untimely
led police to Lara Salas in early 201');">13. Id. at p. 5.
After police executed a search warrant at a residence in
Lexington and seized 45 kilograms of cocaine, examination
conducted in April 201');">14, determined the seized drugs
contained Lara Salas's fingerprints. Id. Lara
Salas was subsequently indicted on federal drug trafficking
charges, pled guilty, and was deported. Additionally,
Detective Evans described the prior surveillance and
interaction with Lara Salas that took place in late 201');">13. He
stated that Lara Salas had been living in Lexington, but was
later arrested in Maryland for attempting to coordinate a
two-kilogram cocaine drug delivery. Id. Evans
travelled to Maryland on November 1');">12, 201');">13, under the
assumption that Lara Salas wanted to cooperate with Lexington
Police. However, Lara Salas changed his mind and no longer
wished to speak to Detective Evans upon his arrival.
April 201');">16, Detective Evans was “notified by several
qualified CI's that Fernando Garcia had returned to
Lexington and had continued to sell large amount of cocaine
and heroin.” Id. On the following page of the
affidavit, Evans averred that Lara Salas has been arrested a
number of times in Lexington under several aliases. He
further indicated that the previously-mentioned CI's had
heard that Lara Salas and his wife Nancy had recently
purchased a house and that Nancy drove a red Toyota Camry
while Lara Salas drove a green Chevrolet Avalanche.
Id. at 6.
the first week of August (201');">16),  Detective Evans was
conducting surveillance in the area of Dartmoor Drive, in
search of Humberto Alvarez, a fugitive from a previous case.
Id. During this surveillance, Evans located a red
Toyota Camry, a Blue Chevrolet Avalanche, and a grey Dodge
Charger parked in the driveway of 629 Dartmoor Drive.
Id. He then determined that the Toyota and Dodge
were registered to either Lara Salas or Nancy. Id.
Evans further “conducted surveillance at 629 Dartmoor
Drive on numerous occasions at all hours of the day and night
and  confirmed that it is Nancy and [Lara Salas']
primary residence.” Id. Evans noted that he
has observed both Lara Salas and Nancy “coming and
going” from the residence on multiple occasions.
Id. He further indicated that, based on the fact
that Lara Salas and Nancy have not told any of the CI's
about their residence, he believed that this is where they
store “cocaine, heroin, and or large sums of
Evans contacted Cincinnati DEA TFO Chad Whitford on January
1');">16, 201');">17, and informed him of the Lara Salas' drug
trafficking operation and that, according to Detective
Evans' CI's, Lara Salas had several customers in the
Cincinnati area. Id. at p. 7. The affidavit then
outlines facts demonstrating that Lara Salas would often
travel north to 1');">1429 Ambrose Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio,
where he and his associate Jorge Macias would meet with
Robbie Warren. Id.
January 1');">16, 201');">17, Lara Salas, his son, Macias, and another
unknown Hispanic male were observed arriving at the
Cincinnati address and using a key to enter the premises.
Id. Warren then arrived at the address and what was
believed to be a money exchange occurred. Independent
investigation of Warren (which included observed daily trips
to the Ambrose Avenue location) followed by what appeared to
be drug drops, led Detective Evans and assisting
investigators to “believe that [Lara Salas], his
partner Jorge Macias, and his associates are supplying Robbie
Warren with large amount of narcotics. Id.
Detective Evans advised that a CI contacted and advised him
that Lara Salas provided the CI with a quantity of heroin,
which was provided as a representative sample of a much
larger amount the two were selling, advising that that they
had “kilogram quantities of heroin for sale.”
Id. at p. 8. Additionally, Detective Evans stated
that defendants from a long term investigation of a large
drug trafficking organization were arrested and interviewed
in April 201');">17. The arrestees advised that they had sold Lara
Salas multiple kilograms of heroin on multiple occasions.
Detective Evans also explained that, in June 201');">17, another
defendant from a separate drug trafficking investigation
advised that Lara Salas contacted him seeking to purchase
multiple kilograms of cocaine. Id. at p. 9. The
high-level cocaine trafficker told Lara Salas that he had
“not received his drug load yet[, ]” but that
when he did, he would contact Lara Salas. Id. He
then advised Detective Evans that, when he called Lara Salas
a couple days later to see “if he was still looking to
purchase several kilograms of cocaine[, ]” Lara Salas
told him that he already received his supply form another
within 72 hours of executing the affidavit, Detective Evans
was contacted be a qualified CI who advised that Lara Salas
and Macias had recently received another drug shipment.
Id. The CI set up a delivery of a quantity of
heroin, which Detective Evans later observed. Id.
Detective Evans also observed Macias driving Lara Salas's
Chevrolet Avalanche to the meeting with the CI, where Macias
provided the CI with a “quantity of suspected heroin
and advised that he and [Lara Salas] had large amounts for
sale.” Id. Based on all the information
contained in the affidavit, Detective Evans stated that there
was probable cause to believe that there would be evidence of
drug trafficking located at Lara Salas residence at 629
Dartmoor Drive. Id.
on this affidavit, Judge Thornton issued the requested search
warrant on July 1');">17, 201');">17. Id. at p. 1');">1. However,
Barron contends that the application for the search warrant
did not establish probable cause. Id.
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution only
allows the issuance of a warrant upon a showing of probable
cause. U.S. Const. amend. IV. “Probable cause is
defined as reasonable grounds for belief, supported by less
than prima facie proof but more than mere suspicion.”
United States v. Jackson, 470 F.3d 299, 306 (6th
Cir. 2006). When determining whether probable cause exists
for a warrant, an issuing judge must consider the totality of
the circumstances. United States v. Hammond, 351');">1
F.3d 765, 771');">1 (6th Cir. 2003). A reviewing court should pay
great deference to the issuing judge's probable cause
determination. Illinois v. Gates, 1');">13');">462 U.S. 21');">13, 236
(1');">1983). The court will uphold the issuing judge's
decision if she had a “substantial ...