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United States v. Mobley

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

May 23, 2018




         The indictment charges Defendant Charlie Edward Mobley, Jr., with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. (Doc. no. 1.) Defendant moves to suppress evidence obtained from his home at 1928 Virginia Avenue in Augusta, Georgia. (Doc. no. 34.) Upon consideration of the briefs and hearing testimony on April 25, 2018, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS Defendant's Motions to Suppress be DENIED.

         I. FACTS

         In January 2017, Investigator Brad Capitosti of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, assigned at the time to the Drug Enforcement Agency's task force, began investigating Defendant for possession of narcotics and firearms at his residence, 1928 Virginia Avenue, based on information from a confidential informant (“CI”). (Court's recording system, For The Record, (hereinafter “FTR”), 10:05:08 - 10:06:25.) Investigator Capitosti first encountered the CI seventeen months prior, and the CI had participated in several state and federal narcotics and firearm investigations leading to over ten prosecutions for drug and firearm related crimes. (FTR 10:06:43 - 10:08:06.) The CI told Investigator Capitosti he had known Defendant for approximately two years, and he had personal knowledge Defendant kept large clear trash bags of marijuana, other narcotics, and firearms inside his residence. (FTR 10:08:49 - 10:09:09; 10:10:37 - 10:10:56.)

         Based on the CI's information, Investigator Capitosti and his colleagues began to conduct surveillance at Defendant's residence throughout the month of January, where they observed many cars coming and going for brief periods of time, which was consistent with drug trafficking. (FTR 10:11:13 - 10:11:52; 10:13:01 - 10:13:14.) Investigator Capitosti also ran Defendant's criminal history and discovered he was a convicted felon for the sale of cocaine in Burke County, Georgia in 2007. (FTR 10:12:07 - 10:12:30.)

         Investigator Capitosti sought a search warrant for Defendant's residence from Superior Court Judge Susan Jolly on February 16, 2017, alleging in support the following:

Within the past forty eight (48) hours this Affiant has been in contact with a confidential source and reliable Source (hereafter referred to as C/S.)in reference to the drug activities involving MOBLEY, Charley.
The C/S bas been familiar with the illegal drug activities of MOBLEY, Charley for approximately two (2) years. The C/S stated that he/she has seen MOBLEY, Charley in possession of firearms at the residence of 1928 Virginia Avenue and on his person, along with amounts of marijuana. The C/S stated that MOBLEY, Charley keeps illegal firearms inside the residence of the target location of 1928 Virginia Avenue and sells amounts of marijuana and other illegal narcotics.
The C/S has been known to this affiant for approximately seventeen (17) months and has since provided truthful and knowledgeable information which has led to the seizure of large amounts of illegal narcotics and drug traffickers.
During a records check of MOBLEY, Charley, Inv. Capitosti discovered that MOBLEY, Charley was convicted on April 13, 2007 for V.G.C.S.A sale of Cocaine. Inv. Capitosti also discovered that MOBLEY, Charley was convicted of other drug related offenses as well other previous firearms and assault charges through the Burke County Sheriff's Office.
This Affiant has observed Mobley, Charley arriving and leaving the listed residence. The affiant has also observed vehicles arriving at the residence and staying for short periods of time after entering inside the target residence. Due to the information received by the C/S and the activities observed at the residence, this Affiant believes that narcotics and firearms are being kept and stored at the residence of 1928 Virginia Avenue and request [sic] a warrant be issued for the residence.

(Doc. no. 34-2, pp. 3-4; FTR 10:13:20 - 10:13:25.)

         Judge Jolly issued the requested warrant at 3:50 p.m. on February 2, 2017, and Investigator Capitosti's team executed the search at 8:15 p.m. (Id. at 5; FTR 10:17:21 - 10:17:38.) The search warrant return described items seized from the residence as three firearms along with ammunition, numerous drugs (including marijuana) in various forms, drug paraphernalia, and currency. (Doc. no. 34-1, p. 53.)

         When Investigator Capitosti informed the CI of the drugs and guns seized from the residence, the CI informed Investigator Capitosti Defendant had previously buried firearms and currency in his backyard. (FTR 10:19:13 - 10:19:26, 10:48:26 - 10:49:36.) Investigator Capitosti obtained a second search warrant, but his ...

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