United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Sorokin United States District Judge.
Juan Gonzalez-Arias is charged with various offenses alleging
he distributed heroin as part of a conspiracy. See
Doc. 27. On June 24, 2016, Defendant filed a Motion to
Suppress (“Motion”) “all evidence seized
from” 264 East Haverhill Street, Apartment 18, in
Lawrence, Massachusetts, when authorities “executed a
search warrant at approximately 12:00 a.m. on July 13,
2015.” Doc. 135. Defendant argues that the affidavit in
support of the warrant (“Affidavit”) by DEA
Special Agent Garth Hamelin did not establish probable cause
“to believe that evidence would be found in the
location searched.” Doc. 136 at 7. For the reasons that
follow, the Motion is DENIED.
warrant application must demonstrate probable cause to
believe that (1) a crime has been committed - the
‘commission' element, and (2) enumerated evidence
of the offense will be found at the place to be searched -
the so-called ‘nexus' element.” United
States v. Dixon, 787 F.3d 55, 59 (1st Cir. 2015)
(quoting United States v. Feliz, 182 F.3d 82, 86
(1st Cir. 1999)). “With regard to the ‘nexus'
element, the task of a magistrate in determining whether
probable cause exists is ‘to make a practical,
common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances
set forth in the affidavit . . . there is a fair probability
that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a
particular place.'” Feliz, 182 F.3d at 86
(quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238
(1983)). “Put differently, the application must give
someone of reasonable caution reason to believe that evidence
of a crime will be found at the place to be searched.”
United States v. Ribeiro, 397 F.3d 43, 48 (1st Cir.
2005) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted);
see also Feliz, 182 F.3d at 86 (“The probable
cause standard does not demand showing that such a belief be
correct or more likely true than false.”) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). “The probable-cause
nexus between enumerated evidence of the crime and the place
can be inferred from the type of crime, the nature of the
items sought, the extent of an opportunity for concealment
and normal inferences as to where a criminal would hide
evidence of a crime.” Ribeiro, 397 F.3d at 49
(citation, brackets, and internal quotation marks omitted).
magistrate judge's determination that information in a
search warrant affidavit establishes probable cause receives
“considerable deference, ” such that a reviewing
court will reverse the determination only if there was
“no substantial basis for concluding that probable
cause existed.” Feliz, 182 F.3d at 86;
Dixon, 787 F.3d at 58-59.
Affidavit was submitted to Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy
on July 12, 2015. Doc. 151 at 51. Based on the
Affidavit's facts, Special Agent Hamelin stated he
believed that Defendant used 264 East Haverhill Street,
Apartment 18 (“the Target Location”), “not
only as his residence, but also to stash and prepare
narcotics for sale.” Id. Judge Hennessy issued
a warrant based on the Affidavit the same day. Id.
Affidavit alleges the following facts: The Target Location
was located on the third floor of a three-story brick
apartment building. Id. at 25. In March 2014, DEA
agents in Boston initiated an investigation into a
drug-trafficking organization led by Defendant. Id.
October 22, 2014, agents saw Defendant leave the Target
Location and then, about ten minutes later, arrive at a
pre-designated location to sell heroin to an undercover
agent. Id. at 27-28.
November 20, 2014, according to data from a global
positioning system (“GPS”) tracking device on
Defendant's vehicle, Defendant left the Target Location
and then, about 70 minutes later, arrived at the same
pre-designated location to again sell heroin to the
undercover agent. Id. at 28-29. Shortly thereafter,
Defendant traveled back to the Target Location. Id.
March 7, 2015, agents, through an authorized wiretap, heard
Defendant call a restaurant and state that he had ordered
food to be delivered to East Haverhill Street. Id.
at 31. Later, the restaurant called Defendant and informed
him that the delivery person had arrived; Defendant said the
delivery person should ring Apartment 18. Id.
March 27, 2015, investigators saw a co-conspirator of
Defendant's park in the parking lot adjacent to the
Target Location. Id. at 32. After Defendant made a
call that Special Agent Hamelin believed was an order for
drugs,  the co-conspirator left the Target
Location carrying a green bag. Id.
April 10, 2015, Defendant and a co-conspirator had a phone
conversation in which, Special Agent Hamelin believed,
Defendant explained that he was processing heroin for
distribution. Id. at 34. According to agents who
were monitoring a telephone pole camera outside the Target
Location and according to the GPS device on Defendant's
vehicle, Defendant was at the Target Location during the
phone call. Id. Defendant told the co-conspirator to
“give me five minutes, ” then two minutes later
left the Target Location to meet the co-conspirator.
Id. Immediately after meeting the co-conspirator at
a nearby location, Defendant returned to the Target Location.
Id. at 34-35.
April 18, 2015, after telling a co-conspirator over the phone
how much heroin he had to distribute - specifically, he said,
“I perhaps have there about 200 to 300 pesos, ”
meaning grams - agents saw Defendant leave the Target
Location to meet the co-conspirator at a second location.
Id. at 35. Agents at the second location saw
Defendant arrive carrying a white plastic bag. Id.
Shortly after the co-conspirator left the ...