United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Newnan Division
Timothy C. Batten, Sr. United States District Judge
case comes before the Court on Magistrate Judge Russell G.
Vineyard's Final Report and Recommendation (the
“R&R”)  which recommends denying
Defendant Abubakar Sakapala's motions [33, 36] to
suppress evidence and denying Defendant Alick Banda's
similar motions [34, 35]. Sakapala has filed objections 
to the R&R, as has Banda .
and Banda are charged in a two-count indictment with
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least five
kilograms of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(b)(1)(A) and 846, and possessing with intent to
distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and 841(b)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2. Defendants seek to suppress evidence and statements
obtained following a stop of the tractor-trailer in which
they were traveling on March 13, 2018. The facts of the case
are not disputed, and the Court adopts the facts as set forth
in the R&R. Defendants object to certain conclusions
reached in the R&R, which the Court will review.
Legal Standard on Review of a Magistrate Judge's
district judge has a duty to conduct a “careful and
complete” review of a magistrate judge's R&R.
Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir.
1982) (per curiam) (quoting Nettles v. Wainwright,
677 F.2d 404, 408 (5th Cir. Unit B 1982)). This review may
take different forms, however, depending on whether there are
objections to the R&R. A district judge must “make
a de novo determination of those portions of the [R&R] to
which objection is made.” 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) (A 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. Macort v. Prem,
Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006) (per
curiam) (quoting Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Ins., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005)).
filing objections must specifically identify those findings
objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections need
not be considered by the district court.”
Nettles, 677 F.2d at 410 n.8. “This rule
facilitates the opportunity for district judges to spend more
time on matters actually contested and produces a result
compatible with the purposes of the Magistrates Act.”
Id. at 410.
district judge also has discretion to decline to consider
arguments that were not raised before the magistrate judge.
Williams v. McNeil, 557 F.3d 1287, 1292 (11th Cir.
2009). Indeed, a contrary rule “would effectively
nullify the magistrate judge's consideration of the
matter and would not help to relieve the workload of the
district court.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Howell, 231 F.3d 615, 622 (9th Cir. 2000)).
conducting a complete and careful review of the R&R, the
district judge “may accept, reject, or modify”
the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Williams, 681 F.2d at
732. The district judge “may also receive further
evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Sakapala's Objections to the R&R
objects to the conclusion that the information provided by
the confidential informant supported reasonable articulable
suspicion. As such, the Court will consider this issue de
out in detail in the R&R, the facts at the evidentiary
hearing established that the DEA obtained information from a
confidential informant that an individual known as
“Andrew” was involved in drug trafficking.
particular, Sakapala argues that there is no evidence of the
confidential informant's reliability, such as testimony
that the informant has been reliable in the past or that the
information is current. He argues that, for information from
an informer to be the sole basis for probable cause, it must
be revealed how the informer obtained his information and why
the police believed the informer was credible and reliable.
See Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 114 (1964).
Sakapala's objection is based on an archaic standard.
“To avoid ‘rigid' legal rules, [Illinois
v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983), ] changed the
‘two-pronged test' of Aguilar v. Texas
into a totality-of-the-circumstances test.” United
States v. Laughlin, No. 1:10-cr-113-TWT/AJB, 2012 WL
3065404, at *27 (N.D.Ga. July 6, 2012). “Under the
Gates totality-of-the-circumstances test, the
‘veracity' and ‘basis of knowledge'
prongs of Aguilar-for assessing the usefulness of an
informant's tips-are not independent.” Id.
“They are better understood as relevant considerations
in the totality of the circumstances analysis that
traditionally has guided probable cause determinations: a
deficiency in one may be compensated for by a strong showing
as to the other.” Gates, 462 U.S. at 233.
Gates approach applies in the reasonable suspicion
context but requires a lesser showing than probable cause.
Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 328-30 (1990)
(“Reasonable suspicion is a less demanding standard
than probable cause . . . also in the sense that reasonable
suspicion can arise ...