United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
RODRIGUEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
day came on to be considered Defendant's motion to
suppress (Dkt. No. 51) and motion to sever (Dkt. No. 52).
to June 27, 2019, law enforcement officers were investigating
Jose Manuel Trevino, a co-defendant in this case. A number of
undercover transactions took place. During those transactions
Trevino referred to his source of supply as
27, David Camacho, a DEA Task Force Officer acting in an
undercover capacity, arranged to purchase a quantity of drugs
from Trevino and they arranged a pickup at Trevino's
residence on Madrid Street. At approximately 12:43 p.m.,
Agent Camacho drives to the residence on Madrid Street with
audio and video running. Trevino calls Agent Camacho and asks
where he is and Agent Camacho states he is nearby. Agent
Camacho and Trevino also discuss that “Vato”
would be dropping by the Madrid residence. Agent Camacho
relays this information to other officers on the team.
12:45, Agent Camacho arrives to the location, notes the
presence of a silver SUV with its engine running, and begins
to identify to other officers those whom he sees at the
Madrid residence front yard, including a male wearing a red
cap. Minutes earlier, DEA Group Supervisor Eric Putnam saw a
male wearing a red cap exit a silver SUV and proceed to the
residence carrying a plastic bag.
thereafter enters Agent Camacho's vehicle carrying a
plastic bag. Agent Camacho inspects the bag containing
heroin, and then states that he is going to retrieve the
payment monies from the trunk of his car. At 12:47, Agent
Camacho exits the vehicle, delivers a prearranged signal, and
a number of law enforcement officers converge on the scene.
Gunshots are heard on the video, and at 12:50, an officer
announces “all clear.” Trevino and Moreno Colin
and all persons in the front yard of the Madrid residence are
handcuffed and detained to preserve evidence and for officer
safety. As soon as Trevino is handcuffed, he proceeds to tell
officers that the male wearing the red cap is “the guy
you want, ” that he was the source of supply, and that
he was there to collect monies. A female found at the scene,
co-defendant Brenda Sanmiguel, also made the same comments
upon her arrest.
Moreno Colin was interviewed at the premises and Mirandized.
The interview was conducted in English. Agent Camacho
testified that Moreno Colin understood and spoke English
“very well” and that he relayed he had been
living in the United States since he was a teenager. During
this five-minute interview Moreno Colin was calm and
cooperative. Agent Camacho asked him who he was, what he was
doing there at the residence, and whether he supplied Trevino
with any illegal narcotics. Moreno Colin stated he was at the
house “advising a friend” and denied supplying
drugs to Trevino. Agent Camacho asked for consent to search
Moreno Colin's vehicle, and consent was given. Moreno
Colin stood nearby as the search was conducted and at no time
requested that the search be stopped. A duffle bag with
clothes, an identification card, and other items were found.
Inside the duffle bag there was also a red ledger. The ledger
contained names, prices, and slang terms for methamphetamine
argues that there was no probable cause for the search of his
vehicle and that he did not provide consent for the search.
Finally, he argues that even if consent was given for search
of the car, no consent was given for a search of the ledger,
and once the ledger was found either additional consent was
necessary for the ledger to be opened or a search warrant was
required to read the contents. The Government contends that
probable cause existed for the search of the car (relying
upon the automobile exception to the warrant requirement) and
consent was given for the search.
automobile exception provides that “where there was
probable cause to search a vehicle ‘a search is not
unreasonable if based on facts that would justify the
issuance of a warrant, even though a warrant has not been
actually obtained.' Maryland v. Dyson, 527 U.S.
465, 467, 119 S.Ct. 2013, 144 L.Ed.2d 442 (1999).”
United States v. Deleon, 689 Fed.Appx. 278, 279 (5th
Cir. 2017). Here probable cause existed because prior to the
June 27 arrests and search, Agent Camacho was told by Trevino
that his source of supply was “Vato.” On June 27,
Agent Camacho is told by Trevino that “Vato”
would be dropping by the Madrid residence. DEA Group
Supervisor Putnam sees a male with a red cap exit a silver
SUV with a plastic bag in hand and walk to the Trevino
residence. The car's engine remains turned on.
Thereafter, Trevino walks to Agent Camacho's vehicle with
a plastic bag containing heroin.
is well settled that warrantless searches of automobiles are
permitted by the Fourth Amendment if the officers have
probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains
contraband or other evidence of a crime. Whether an officer
has probable cause to search a vehicle depends on the
totality of the circumstances viewed ‘in light of the
observations, knowledge, and training of the law enforcement
officers involved in the warrantless search.'”
United States v. McSween, 53 F.3d 684, 686 (5th Cir.
1995) (internal citations omitted). Under the
“collective knowledge doctrine, ” the officer
conducting a stop, search, or arrest based on probable cause
need not “know all of the facts amounting to probable
cause, as long as there is some degree of communication
between the arresting officer and an officer who has
knowledge of all the necessary facts.” United
States v. Ibarra, 493 F.3d 526, 530 (5th Cir. 2007);
see also United States v. Ibarra-Sanchez, 199 F.3d
753, 759 (5th Cir. 1999).
alternative, the Court finds that Moreno Colin voluntarily
gave consent for the search of his vehicle. The Government
must prove Moreno Colin voluntarily consented to the search
by a preponderance of the evidence. The Fifth Circuit applies
the following test to determine voluntariness: “(1) the
voluntariness of the defendant's custodial status; (2)
the presence of coercive police procedures; (3) the extent
and level of the defendant's cooperation with the police;
(4) the defendant's awareness of his right to refuse
consent; (5) the defendant's education and ...