FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS Hon. Douglas P. Woodlock, U.S. District Judge
F. Palmer for appellant.
T. Epstein, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, with whom
Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney, Richard E.
Zuckerman, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, S.
Robert Lyons, Chief, Criminal Appeals & Tax Enforcement
Policy Section, Stanley J. Okula, Jr., Attorney, and
Alexander P. Robbins, Attorney, were on brief for appellee.
Lynch, Stahl, and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
a law enforcement sting targeting a Stolen Identity Refund
Fraud ("SIRF") scheme, Hector Antonio Cruz-Mercedes
was administratively arrested for unlawful presence in the
United States. Following the arrest, he was fingerprinted
during a routine booking. Subsequently, the government
charged him with multiple counts related to his involvement
in the fraud scheme. Prior to trial, Cruz-Mercedes moved to
suppress his booking fingerprints as the "fruit" of
what he contended was an unlawful arrest.
district court determined that Cruz-Mercedes was arrested
without probable cause prior to his admission of unlawful
presence in the United States. Nonetheless, the court
admitted the fingerprint evidence under the doctrine of
inevitable discovery. Following the district court's
ruling, Cruz-Mercedes conditionally pleaded guilty, reserving
the right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion as
to the fingerprint evidence's admission.
affirm the district court's denial of the motion to
suppress, albeit on different grounds. Specifically, we find
on these facts that the fingerprints were obtained for
routine booking purposes. Thus, there is no basis in the
record of this case for suppression of the fingerprint
evidence, and accordingly we need not reach the district
court's probable cause or inevitable discovery
relevant facts are drawn primarily from the district
court's findings, see United States v.
Cruz-Mercedes, 379 F.Supp.3d 24, 29-34 (D. Mass. 2019)
("Cruz-Mercedes I"),  "consistent
with record support, with the addition of undisputed facts
drawn from the suppression hearing," United States
v. Hernandez-Mieses, 931 F.3d 134, 137 (1st Cir. 2019).
March 2012, the Department of Homeland Security's
Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI") office in
Boston received information from a confidential informant
("CI") about a fraudulent tax return scheme.
According to the CI, the implicated individuals allegedly
used Social Security numbers stolen from Puerto Rican
residents to file false tax returns and fraudulently obtain
refund checks. On three separate occasions between April
and May 2012, the CI met with one individual involved in the
scheme, Odalis Castillo-Lopez, with the goal of purchasing
fraudulent refund checks. Subsequently, the CI arranged to
meet with Castillo-Lopez on June 7, 2012 under the guise of
purchasing approximately $160, 000 in fraudulently obtained
checks. Agents from HSI and the Secret Service established
surveillance of the June 7 meeting with the intention of
arresting Castillo-Lopez. The agents convened in a parking
lot adjacent to a McDonald's in South Attleboro,
arrived at the McDonald's in a white Volkswagen Passat
accompanied by an unknown passenger, later identified as
Cruz-Mercedes. Alma Martinez, the sister of
Cruz-Mercedes's girlfriend Betty Sanchez, was later
identified as the owner of the Passat. The two men exited the
vehicle and entered the McDonald's, followed closely by
Special Agents John Soares and Michael Riley of HSI and
Special Agent Fred Mitchell of the Secret Service. Soares and
Mitchell approached Castillo-Lopez inside the McDonald's,
asked him some questions, escorted him outside, arrested him,
and took him to the Boston HSI office for processing. The
officers seized two cell phones from Castillo-Lopez during
same time, Agent Riley briefly conversed with Cruz-Mercedes
inside the McDonald's, but there is no record evidence of
the substance of that conversation. At some point, Riley
escorted Cruz-Mercedes out of the McDonald's, and Special
Agent Cronin of HSI subsequently questioned Cruz-Mercedes in
the parking lot.
the McDonald's, Cruz-Mercedes identified himself to
Cronin as "Pedro Colon" and displayed
identification documents bearing that name, including a
Massachusetts driver's license and a Social Security
card. Cronin asked Cruz-Mercedes if the documents were, in
fact, his. Cruz-Mercedes responded that his name was actually
Hector Cruz-Mercedes, that he was a native of the Dominican
Republic, and that he had unlawfully entered the United
States. Cronin then formally arrested Cruz-Mercedes for
unlawful presence in the United States. A search of
Cruz-Mercedes incident to that arrest uncovered two cell
phones, which were then seized. At no point during the
interaction did law enforcement advise Cruz-Mercedes of his
rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
was then transported to the Boston HSI office for processing.
There, Agent Cronin created an alien file for Cruz-Mercedes,
who had not previously encountered immigration authorities
and thus had no file. Cronin fingerprinted ...