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United States v. Lopes

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 3, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
EVAN LOPES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          INDIRA TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         A federal grand jury indicted Evan Lopes for possession of methylone with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Lopes seeks to suppress items seized during searches of his residence and his motor vehicle on January 15, 2015. For the reasons set forth below, Lopes' Motion to Suppress [#71], Motion to Suppress Warrantless Search [#73], and Motion to Suppress [#75][1] are DENIED.

         II. The Facts Set Forth in the Affidavit in Support of the Search Warrant

         The following facts are derived from a January 14, 2015, affidavit submitted by Detective Lieutenant Sean E. Balcom (“Detective Lieutenant Balcom”) in support of the search warrant at issue in Lopes' motions. See Gov't Resp. Def.'s Mot. Suppress (“Gov't Resp.”) Ex. A, Aff. Supp. Search Warrant 3-4 (“Balcom Aff.”) [#80-1].

         A. Investigation from December 2011 to September 2014

         Beginning in approximately December 2011, the Barnstable Police Department undertook an investigation, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), the Massachusetts State Police Cape Cod Task Force, and other local law enforcement, into drug trafficking activities by David Landry and others.

         On March 7, 2012, state and local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the home where Landry was residing at that time, discovering more than thirty-five pounds of marijuana, digital scales, and cash in the house and a vehicle parked at the house. Between April and November 2012, an undercover ATF agent conducted more than ten controlled purchases of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin from Landry's associate Michael Fields. Following Fields' arrest on federal drug charges approximately one year later, Fields spoke with ATF and local law enforcement on October 20, 2013, stating that Landry supplied the heroin and marijuana Fields sold.

         After learning from a confidential informant in February 2014 that an individual named Mason Lavallee was distributing large quantities of heroin, local law enforcement organized a series of controlled heroin purchases from Lavallee. On April 24, 2014, local law enforcement arrested Lavallee, who began cooperating with the investigation. As part of that cooperation, Lavallee informed police that Landry supplied him with heroin, and identified Fields, Tiquwan Dickerson, Brian Costa, and William Branch as Landry's co-conspirators. In July and August 2014, Lavallee conducted several controlled purchases of heroin from Landry or Landry's associates.

         Several times during the summer of 2014, Lopes was observed meeting Landry at Landry's residence, driving a vehicle with the license plate 211NV7. Additionally, on September 4, 2014, Landry was observed travelling to an address adjacent to Lopes' residence, 14 Point Pleasant Circle, East Wareham, Massachusetts (“14 Point Pleasant Circle”).

         During the month of September 2014, law enforcement conducted intermittent surveillance of 304 Village Drive, Bourne, Massachusetts (“304 Village Drive”), where on August 29, 2014, local law enforcement observed Landry exiting the home and leaving the area in his rental vehicle that had been parked outside. They identified Derek Locurto as the resident of 304 Village Drive. Electronic surveillance also indicated that Landry's rental vehicle was parked near 304 Village Drive on several occasions prior to September 12, 2014.

         On September 12, 2014, Landry was arrested for trafficking heroin pursuant to the above investigation, and was placed in custody at the Barnstable prison.

         B. Landry's Letters from Barnstable Prison

         Beginning on October 6, 2014, Barnstable Superior Court Grand Jury subpoenas were issued to obtain Landry's jail calls and mail. Between October 2014 and January 2015, Landry carried on written correspondence with Diane Johnson, Justin Groom (aka “Bone” or “JBone”), Dickerson (aka “Raheem, ” “Stacks, ” or “Stacks Bundles”), Lopes (aka “E”), and Locurto (aka “Dimitri” or “Fatboy”) about his drug trafficking organization. Law enforcement inspected at least four letters addressed to or from Lopes between October 2014 and December 2014.

         On October 14, 2014, law enforcement inspected an envelope addressed to Johnson, which contained a letter dated October 10, 2014 and addressed to Lopes using his nickname, “E.” Landry stated:

Any way give bone his letter N goby fatboys. He owe me 26 bucks I need 5 RIGHT NOW . . . . Also them 2 things up street just get after leaves fall. Raheem will know what to do w/ them don't even worry bout it just grab N move closer to spot. Before everything freeze. N he'll be home in couple months. . . . Move those things to your spot soon, where they was before til Rasheem out.

         On November 15, 2014, law enforcement inspected an envelope addressed to Johnson, which contained a letter addressed to both Lopes and Locurto. In the portion of the letter addressed to “Derek, ” Landry states “I know you wont have all right away but im pretty sure you said you'd have 5 Right before I got bagged. Were at 26 right now. if you give E 5 now we'll be at 21.” Other evidence confirms that Lopes and Locurto were in communication at this time, including telephone records showing ...


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