United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
Tony Berry (“defendant”) has been indicted on a
charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, cocaine,
heroin and oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.
The indictment also includes a criminal forfeiture
before the Court is defendant's motion to suppress
evidence obtained during an arrest and search of his person
and rented vehicle which occurred on May 13, 2015. For the
reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.
13, 2015, Massachusetts State Police (“MSP”)
officers received information that defendant was transporting
drugs to Holman Street in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Police
set up surveillance and recognized a rental car with a
Tennessee plates turning onto Holman Street around 7:00 P.M.
Officers approached the vehicle and identified defendant as
the person in the front passenger seat.
searched defendant and found a white ankle sock in his pants.
When they searched the vehicle they found a similar white
ankle sock in the center console. That sock contained a
plastic bag with approximately 1, 600 pills of what was later
identified as oxycodone.
to the government, earlier that morning, locator information
for defendant's cell phone had shown movement south on
Route 95 from Attleboro. The locator information also showed
later movement north on Route 95 through Connecticut and
Rhode Island. That locator information was purportedly
identical to defendant's travel to and from New York City
on April 25, 2015, during which the government alleges
defendant was transporting oxycodone pills. The government
also details a long history of surveillance of defendant and
his associates dating back to 2011.
June, 2015, a grand jury indicted defendant and eight others
on multiple drug trafficking charges. In November, 2016,
defendant moved to suppress the evidence from his arrest and
the ensuing search that occurred on May 13, 2015. The Court
held an evidentiary hearing and heard oral argument on that
motion on December 6, 2016.
Motion to Suppress
seeks to suppress all fruits of the search. According to
defendant, the evidence should be suppressed because the
police lacked probable cause to believe a crime was being
committed when they arrested him. The government responds
that the police had sufficient probable cause to justify the
arrest and subsequent search of defendant.
Fourth Amendment governs the arrest of a person by law
enforcement officers. Robinson v. Cook, 706 F.3d 25,
33 (1st Cir. 2013). A warrantless arrest is permissible if
there is probable cause to believe that the arrestee has
committed a crime. United States v. Bizier, 111 F.3d
214, 216-17 (1st Cir. 1997).
probable cause standard is distinct from the “more
onerous standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Morelli v. Webster, 552 F.3d 12, 21 (1st Cir. 2009).
Probable cause exists if,
at the time of arrest, the facts and circumstances known to
the arresting officers were sufficient to warrant a prudent
person in believing that [the suspect] had ...