United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Newnan Division
Timothy C. Batten, Sr. United States District Judge.
Ezequiel Aguirre-Benitez and Gavino Ramirez are charged with
two counts of possession with the intent to distribute
methamphetamine. Defendants filed three motions to suppress:
they jointly moved to suppress all evidence obtained via
three sets of wiretaps , and they filed separate motions
to suppress evidence obtained during the search of their
respective residences [34 (Aguirre-Benitez) & 37
before the Court is Magistrate Judge Russell G.
Vineyard's Final Report and Recommendation (the
“R&R”) , which recommends that the joint
motion to suppress wiretaps  be granted in part and
denied in part and that the individual motions to suppress
evidence [34 & 37] be denied. Each Defendant has filed
objections [58 (Aguirre-Benitez) & 59 (Ramirez)] to the
Legal Standard on Review of a Magistrate Judge's
conducting a careful and complete' review of a magistrate
judge's findings and recommendations, a district judge
may accept, reject or modify a magistrate judge's
R&R.” Taylor v. Cardiovascular Specialists,
P.C., 4 F.Supp.3d 1374, 1376 (N.D.Ga. 2014) (quoting
Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir.
1982) (per curiam)); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). “A
district judge ‘shall make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report or specified proposed findings
or recommendations to which objection is made.'”
Id. (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C)); see
also Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ., 896 F.2d 507, 512
(11th Cir. 1990) (holding that district judge must
“give fresh consideration to those issues to which
specific objection has been made by a party”). Those
portions of the R&R to which no objection is made need
only be reviewed for clear error. Taylor, 4
F.Supp.3d at 1377 (citing Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208
F. App'x 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006)).
The R&R and Defendants' Objections
party has objected to the portion of the R&R that
recommends that Defendants' joint motion to suppress
wiretaps be granted in part and denied in part. Having
reviewed the R&R, the Court finds no clear error in that
recommendation or the findings supporting it. Accordingly,
that aspect of the R&R will be adopted.
objections do challenge the R&R's recommendation that
their individual motions to suppress evidence be denied.
Because Defendants' objections are substantively
identical, the Court will address both sets of objections
argue, as they did in their original motions, that the search
warrants' supporting affidavits used information obtained
from the illegal Cobb County wiretaps that everybody
(including this Court) agrees are subject to suppression.
When the tainted evidence is excised, Defendants contend, the
affidavits do not contain sufficient information to support a
finding of probable cause.
R&R rejected this argument, and properly so. The
affidavits supporting both search warrants refer to an
unidentified male as “UM66, ” a designation
derived from the Cobb County wiretap labeling system. The
Court agrees with Judge Vineyard's conclusion that use of
the UM66 appellation in the affidavits is not tantamount to a
reference to information intercepted through the Cobb County
wiretaps. Furthermore, as the R&R correctly points out,
striking every reference to UM66 in the affidavits would not
alter the substance of the information contained therein that
established probable cause for the warrants. Thus, this
objection is without merit.
affidavit supporting the warrant to search Ramirez's
residence not only referred to UM66 but also contained the
following information from the Cobb County wiretaps:
“On January 11, 2015, members of Atlanta HIDTA
conducted surveillance in support of intercepted
communications between Aguirre and William Mark Vining.
Aguirre had agreed to supply Vining with
methamphetamine.” [37-1] at 10. But even if the January
11, 2015 incident were excised from the affidavit, the
affidavit would be sufficient to establish probable cause to
search Ramirez's residence.
also object to the R&R's conclusion that the
good-faith exception would preclude suppression even if the
warrants were held invalid. As noted above, the Court agrees
with the R&R that the warrants did establish probable
cause to search both Aguirre-Benitez's and Ramirez's
residences. It is therefore unnecessary to address the
hypothetical question of whether the good-faith exception
might preclude suppression if probable cause were lacking.
after a thorough review of the R&R and Defendants'
objections thereto, the Court agrees with Judge
Vineyard's analysis, findings, and recommendations. The
Court therefore adopts as its Order the R&R  and
overrules Defendants' objections thereto [58 & 59].
Defendants' joint motion to suppress wiretaps  is
granted as to the Cobb County wiretaps but denied in ...