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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

October 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMAL WALTER JONES, Defendant.

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DANNY C. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Officers with the Lexington Police Department searched a Fayette County residence located at 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane on June 6, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">18. The search followed several weeks of surveillance regarding drug trafficking activities allegedly stemming from that location. Officers located sums of United States currency inside the residence, together with approximately 75 grams of suspected heroin, a quantity of marijuana, handguns and ammunition, suspected cutting agents for the controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia. Additionally, officers located a garage door opener for the residence inside a Hyundai Santa Fe vehicle. Jones was detained (and arrested) after being observed leaving the residence. The Uniform Citation indicates that Jones stated that he lived at the residence. He was advised before being transported to the Fayette County Detention Center that it would be a separate offense to enter the detention center with illegal contraband. In response, Jones produced seven individual bags of suspected heroin that had been hidden in his underwear.

         A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Jones, charging him with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of a mixture of substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl and heroin, knowingly possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of firearms. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">1, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1-2');">2');">2');">2] The matter is now pending for consideration of the defendant's motion to suppress evidence related to a search warrant for 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane, the 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">17 Hyundai Santa Fe, and his person. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14]

         The defendant's motion will be denied because officers had probable cause to believe that Jones possessed the controlled substances at issue and that evidence of Jones' criminal conduct would be found at the residence in question and within the vehicle he was driving. Further, even if probable cause did not support the search, officers acted in good faith under United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1');">1');">1');">1984).

         Relevant Facts

         A hearing on the defendant's motion to suppress was held on September 2');">2');">2');">27, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">18. However, no additional evidence was offered. The relevant facts are not disputed by the parties.

         A search warrant was requested on June 6, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">18, for 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane, a 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">17 white Hyundai Santa Fe (VIN: KM8SM4HF2');">2');">2');">2hU1');">1');">1');">181');">1');">1');">1051');">1');">1');">1; Florida Reg. DFSP64; registered to EAN Holdings at 1');">1');">1');">14002');">2');">2');">2 E 2');">2');">2');">21');">1');">1');">1st Street, Suite 1');">1');">1');">1500, Tulsa, Oklahoma), and a 5'1');">1');">1');">10-6'2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">180-pound, black male. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-3, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1] Lexington Police Detective Cooper submitted an affidavit in support of the warrant issued by a state district judge. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1-4] The affidavit described the location to be searched as 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane, Lexington, Fayette County Kentucky. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1] More specifically, the property to be searched was identified as the left-side of a duplex, clearly marked with the numbers “2');">2');">2');">2585” to the left of the garage door. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1] The affidavit also includes a description of a White Hyundai Santa Fe, with the VIN number and registration information listed. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1] The affidavit describes the person to be searched as a “male black approximately 5'1');">1');">1');">10-6'2');">2');">2');">2 [and] 1');">1');">1');">180 pounds.” [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">p. 1');">1');">1');">1]

         The warrant was sought based on information received by Detective Cooper beginning on April 2');">2');">2');">21');">1');">1');">1, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">18, from a confidential informant [“QCI1');">1');">1');">1”]. The informant advised that three black males from Detroit were selling quantities of heroin from a hotel in the Elkhorn Road area of Lexington, Kentucky, and that they had subsequently moved to the duplex at the Knightsbridge Lane address. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 2');">2');">2');">2] The affiant states that QCI1');">1');">1');">1 previously provided truthful and accurate information to the police on multiple occasions. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p .2');">2');">2');">2] Further, the information was independently verified. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 2');">2');">2');">2] It appears that the individual identified as QCI1');">1');">1');">1 had purchased narcotics for the Narcotics Enforcement Unit on approximately five occasions. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 2');">2');">2');">2]

         Detective Cooper commenced surveillance at 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane in May 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">18. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] He observed the Hyundai Santa Fe parked in the driveway and driven by an unknown black male subject on several occasions during this surveillance. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] Detective Cooper and another detective met with a second confidential informant [“QCI2');">2');">2');">2”] for the purpose of setting up a controlled buy from the unknown male at Knightsbridge Lane. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] Officers followed the subject to and from 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane to a predetermined location for the controlled buy. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3]

         The affiant met with QCI2');">2');">2');">2 within 48 hours of seeking the search warrant to arrange and conduct another controlled purchase from the black male subject identified as living at Knightsbridge Lane. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] Officers observed QCI2');">2');">2');">2 meet with a black male for a brief time and then observed the subject get into the driver's seat of the white Hyundai Santa Fe described in the search warrant. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] Detectives followed the Santa Fe back to 2');">2');">2');">2585 Knightsbridge Lane where they observed the subject enter the residence. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3] The subject matched the description of the male observed during the first controlled purchase and identified generally in the search warrant (i.e., a “male black subject approximately 5-1');">1');">1');">10 to 6'2');">2');">2');">2 tall and approximately 1');">1');">1');">180 pounds.” [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">14-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 3]

         Legal Analysis

         A.

         “Probable cause is defined as reasonable grounds for belief, supported by less than prima facie proof but more than mere suspicion and is found to exist where there is a fair probability that evidence of a crime will be located on the premises of the proposed search.” United States v. Jackson, 3d 2');">2');">2');">299');">470 F.3d 2');">2');">2');">299, 306 (6th Cir. 2');">2');">2');">2006) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The Fourth Amendment prohibits the issuance of a search warrant unless it is based “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. To properly obtain a warrant, the proponent must submit an affidavit that “indicate[s] a fair probability that evidence of a crime will be ...


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