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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Athens Division

May 12, 2015



C. ASHLEY ROYAL, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Demetrius Jackson's (Defendant) request for an evidentiary hearing, and two particularized Motions to Suppress. Defendant asks this Court to suppress all evidence of and the fruits thereof, including alleged physical evidence, statements, identification, and testimony. Defendant contends law enforcement agents illegally seized this evidence in violation of his First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth or Fourteenth Amendment rights according to 18 U.S.C. § 2234, 18 U.S.C. § 2510, et seq., during and subsequent to 1) illegal wiretaps of Defendant's telephone communications, and 2) an illegal search of Defendant's residence and seizure of items therein.

In Defendant's first Motion to Suppress [Doc. 236], he asks this Court for an evidentiary hearing and to suppress evidence obtained as a result of two wiretap orders. In his second Motion to Suppress [Doc. 237], Defendant seeks to suppress any evidence obtained under a search warrant of his residence. The Government opposes both Motions, and for the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's request for an evidentiary hearing, and Motions to Suppress [Doc. 236 & 237] are DENIED.[1]


A. Facts Relating to Wiretap Orders

1. May 6, 2013 Wiretap Order

On May 6, 2013, upon an application and a 90-page affidavit by DEA Special Agent Hubert F. Jordan, this Court entered an order authorizing the interception of wire communications for Target Telephone 1 (TT1), a telephone purportedly used by Tiant Quimby. Quimby was identified in the affidavit as "the leader of the cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking organization." In the affidavit, the Government provided extensive background regarding the investigation of drug trafficking activities, and the Court found that there was probable cause to issue the requested wiretap.

Beginning in August 2012, the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force ("NEGRDTF") began investigating a suspected drug trafficking organization run by Quimby and others. In August 2012, a confidential source (CS1) working for NEGRDTF identified Michael Grant (Grant) as a large scale cocaine and crack cocaine dealer in the Athens, Georgia area. Grant was believed to be supplied by persons located in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area. Grant had already been identified by law enforcement as working with Quimby to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in the Athens, Georgia.

Between August 23, 2012, and January 17, 2013, CS1 conducted a total of six controlled buys under the supervision of law enforcement for crack cocaine, marijuana, and/or firearms from Grant in Athens. Four of the buys involved crack cocaine, two involved marijuana, and two involved firearms. On August 23, 2012, CS1 met Grant at Grant's mother's residence in Athens, Georgia, to conduct a drug deal. The two individuals then went to a second location, and CS1 bought a quarter ounce of marijuana for $90 and a.22 caliber Derringer handgun from Grant. CS1 did not pay Grant for the firearm at this time. This transaction was recorded by video and audio. On November 1, 2012, CS1 again met with Grant at Grant's mother's house to conduct a drug deal. Quimby was also present at this location. CS1 and Grant again went to a second location where CS1 purchased half an ounce of marijuana for $150 and a 9mm handgun for $100. Quimby did not join CS1 and Grant at the second location. This transaction was recorded by audio and video. On November 12, 2012, CS1 went to Grant's mother's residence yet again. CS1 paid Grant $100 for the.22 caliber Derringer CS1 had previously bought from Grant. This transaction was recorded via audio and video. Plans were in place for CS1 to attempt another crack cocaine buy with Grant on February 15, 2013. However, Grant was arrested before the controlled buy could occur. Grant was found with one ounce of crack cocaine on his person. Grant's arrest was not made in conjunction with the current investigation.

Prior to Grant's arrest, another confidential source (CS2) conducted approximately three controlled crack cocaine buys with Willie Hill (Hill). These buys occurred on January 16, January 25, and February 14, 2013. During the controlled buy of crack cocaine on January 25, 2013, Hill was seen traveling to meet Grant to obtain the crack cocaine meant for CS2. All three of these transactions were facilitated through Hill's cellular telephone number, which CS2 provided to law enforcement. Upon analysis, toll records show that Hill had been in contact with Quimby through TT1.

During the middle of February 2013, CS1 informed law enforcement that he/she had been in contact with Quimby through TT1. CS1 told law enforcement that Quimby called CS1 to ask CS1 how much Quimby should charge for some prescription pills that Quimby had acquired. CS1 and Quimby used to sell illegally obtained prescription pills in the Athens, Georgia, area. These past dealings enabled CS1 to provide law enforcement with Quimby's telephone number (TT1). CS1 also informed agents that Quimby had stopped supplying Grant with cocaine a few days prior to his arrest because Grant had been acting recklessly. This call was not recorded because CS1 did not have a recorder at the time.

Since CS1's call with Quimby regarding the prescription pills and Grant's recklessness, CS1 had been in contact with Quimby and conducted two controlled buys of crack cocaine through Quimby and "Poppa, " later identified as Antwan Freeman ("A. Freeman"). On February 20, 2013, CS1 spoke with Quimby on TT1 to arrange a drug deal. On February 26, 2013, CS1 again spoke with Quimby on TT1 about purchasing crack cocaine the following day. Quimby agreed to contact CS1 the following day, and indeed, Quimby contacted CS1 on February 27, 2013, for that purpose. Though CS1 requested two ounces of crack cocaine, Quimby was only able to supply CS1 with 48 grams of crack cocaine that day. Quimby told CS1 to meet his "folks" at James Hill's cell phone store in the Gateway shopping center located at 401 North Avenue in Athens, Georgia. On his way, Quimby conducted a three way call with CS1, A. Freeman, and himself. This conversation was recorded, but Quimby and A. Freeman's conversation was unintelligible. This three-way call was later verified using toll records. Upon CS1's arrival, A. Freeman exited a blue, Nissan Altima and got into the passenger seat of CS1's vehicle. CS1 paid A. Freeman $1, 400 for 48 grams of crack cocaine. This drug transaction was recorded via a body-worn transmitter. CS1 called Quimby on TT1 later that day to thank him. Quimby commented on the good quality of the crack cocaine, and Quimby asked CS1 to give Quimby some advanced notice whenever CS1 needs to buy crack cocaine in the future. This call was recorded.

On March 5, 2013, CS1 spoke with Quimby on TT1 in preparation for a pending drug transaction with Quimby. Quimby agreed to a transaction, but Quimby told CS1 that Quimby would have to get more crack cocaine first. Quimby and CS1 spoke again on March 27, 2013. CS1 could not answer Quimby's call at first for lack of a recording device. However, CS1 called Quimby back on TT1, and the two individuals discussed a crack cocaine buy. Quimby stated that he had not been able to contact CS1 because there had been a death in Quimby's family. This call was also recorded. Quimby again called CS1 on March 27, 2013, and told CS1 that he was ready to conduct a crack cocaine purchase. CS1 stalled because agents were not in place for the buy. On March 28, 2013, CS1 contacted Quimby on TT1, stating that he/she was ready to buy the crack cocaine. Quimby told CS1 that he would call CS1 right back. Quimby called CS1 from TT1 and told CS1 to meet at the same spot at James Hill's shop where the first buy was conducted on February 27, 2013. These calls were recorded. CS1 then proceeded to James Hill's shop where CS1 purchased one ounce of crack cocaine from A. Freeman for $800. CS1 was subsequently arrested on April 23, 2013, for an unrelated charge.

All narcotics and firearms purchased by CS1 and CS2 during the controlled buys were turned over to law enforcement. CS1 and CS2 were debriefed, at which time both sources gave self-incriminating statements. The information CS1 and CS2 provided law enforcement was corroborated by audio and video recordings, physical and electronic surveillance, telephone toll analysis, and database checks. Furthermore, CS1 had been communicating via text message with Quimby on TT1. The Government asserts that the texts corroborate the prices and quantity of drugs involved in the February 27 and March 28, 2013 controlled buys. Additionally, toll analysis shows an extensive call history between TT1 and many of Quimby's known associates.

Based on these facts, the Government contended that interception of the TTI was necessary in order to accomplish the goals of the investigation, which were outlined as discovering: (a) the complicity of all persons involved in the conspiracy described in the affidavit; (b) the locations and amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, being dealt by Tiant Quimby and others known and unknown in his organization; (c) the sources and distribution network of the cocaine involved in this investigation; (d) details concerning the financing to the narcotics being distributed; (e) the organization's hierarchy, including the identification of supervisors, managers, runners, and customers; and (f) the location and amount of funds derived from the illegal sale of narcotics by Tiant Quimby, and others known and unknown. Agent Jordan explained in the affidavit why traditional methods of investigation were insufficient and asserted that the Government would conduct the wiretap as to minimize the interception of communication on TTI.

2. June 5, 2013 Wiretap Order

On June 5, 2013, upon an application and a 74-page affidavit submitted by Agent Jordan, the Honorable Marc Treadwell, United States District Judge, signed an order authorizing the extension of the interception of wire communications over TTI. In addition to including information provided in his original affidavit, Agent Jordan included new information learned during the May wiretap, which encompassed coded conversations regarding the sale and distribution of cocaine and marijuana. He further identified two unidentified males UM1 and UM2 and asserted that there were many of Quimby's organization and sources that had not yet been identified. Again, Agent Jordan explained why traditional methods of investigation were insufficient and explained that the Government would conduct the wiretap as to minimize the interception of communication on TTI. Accordingly, the Court found that there was probable cause to issue an order continuing the wiretap.

B. Facts Relating to Search Warrant

On June 19, 2013, Task Force Officer (TFO) Tremell Harvey (Harvey) went before a DeKalb County judge to obtain a search warrant in order to search Defendant's residence and curtilage at 2740 Tucker Valley Road, Tucker, DeKalb County, Georgia. At the time of the search warrant, Harvey was a member of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, Strike Force Group, and was also employed as a Detective with the DeKalb County Police Department.

In Harvey's request for the search warrant, he relied on the same information outlined above that was used to seek the wiretaps on TTI, which was believed to be used by Quimby to facilitate a drug trafficking organization run by him. Harvey also relied on information used through the wiretap orders, where law enforcement learned that Defendant was involved in the suspected drug trafficking organization, as outlined below.

Harvey stated that as a result of the wiretaps, agents intercepted communications that indicated Defendant was one of Quimby's sources of marijuana and cocaine. Beginning on May 7, 2013, communications between Defendant and Quimby were intercepted where the two individuals were discussing significant amounts of marijuana (multiple pounds at a time) that Quimby had purchased from Defendant. Along with these communications, Quimby would allegedly travel to Defendant's location on Tucker Valley Road and pick up significant amounts of marijuana from Defendant. Quimby would transport it to his residence in Covington, Georgia, and then travel to Athens, Georgia, in order to distribute the marijuana to various dealers for re-sale. Near the end of May, intercepted communications indicated that Quimby's other source of cocaine, Cequel Knolton (Knolton), became concerned that surveillance had been set up at Knolton's stash house. The concern increased when Knolton was shortly thereafter robbed. Furthermore, intercepted communications indicated that Knolton would provide Defendant with the cocaine intended for Quimby, and Quimby would travel to Defendant's residence to receive the cocaine and marijuana already being supplied by Defendant to Quimby.

On June 4, 2013, Quimby arranged for the purchase of marijuana from Defendant, and surveillance observed Quimby arriving at Defendant's residence where Quimby remained for approximately one hour. According to intercepted communications, Quimby traveled back to Covington, Georgia, and then traveled to Athens, Georgia, where he distributed the marijuana.

On June 7, 2013, intercepted communications indicated that Defendant made contact with Quimby and requested Quimby's assistance in converting powder cocaine into crack cocaine. Defendant requested Quimby to come to his residence to meet him and assist him in processing a significant quantity of powder cocaine into cocaine base after obtaining a significant amount of "cut." Intercepted communications indicated that Knolton had been giving Defendant larger amounts of cocaine for re-distribution to others besides Quimby.

Surveillance was placed on Quimby on June 7 as he left Athens, Georgia and drove to Defendant's residence in DeKalb County. Quimby was observed leaving Defendant's house some time later with a white shopping bag. Quimby then traveled to Athens, Georgia, where he was seen putting the bag into the trunk of his ...

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