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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 7, 2019

CURTIS JONES, BOP REG # 55887-019 Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          CHARLES A. PANNELL, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This action is before the court on the magistrate judge's report and recommendation (“R&R”) [Doc. No. 210]. The movant has filed objections thereto [Doc. No. 212].

         I. Standard of Review

         In reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R, the district court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “Parties filing objections to a magistrate's report and recommendation must specifically identify those findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections need not be considered by the district court.” United States v. Schultz, 565 F.3d 1353, 1361 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Marsden v. Moore, 847 F.2d 1536, 1548 (11th Cir. 1988)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The district judge must “give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific objection has been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ. of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Absent objection, the district judge “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendations made by the magistrate judge, ” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), and “need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72, advisory committee note, 1983 Addition, Subdivision (b).

         II. Discussion

         A. Background

         The movant was indicted by a federal grand jury for one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and for one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 18 U.S.C. § 2.

         A trial was held from May 4, 2015 through May 6, 2015. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals summarized the evidence as follows:

In early January 2013, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) began a wiretap investigation of a suspected cocaine trafficker, Jonathan Crutcher. On January 15, 2013, agents intercepted a call between Crutcher and another male, later identified as Curtis Jones, in which Jones advised Crutcher he had just received some drugs. Agents intercepted another call between Crutcher and Jones on January 29, 2013, in which they arranged for a drug transaction to take place later that day. The agents established surveillance on Crutcher and observed him meeting with Jones in a convenience-store-parking lot. After he met with Crutcher, the agents followed Jones to a residence located at 3964 Stonewall Tell Road in Atlanta, Georgia, and observed a number of vehicles coming and going from that residence over the course of the afternoon, including Crutcher's vehicle and a red Dodge Ram.
Based on several intercepted calls between Jones and Crutcher during that time period, the agents learned Crutcher had turned over a large sum of money to Jones. In turn, Jones provided the drug proceeds to his source of supply, whom agents believed was driving the Dodge Ram. When the Dodge Ram left the Stonewall Tell Road residence, agents directed a local police officer to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle. Three large bags of money were recovered from the vehicle, containing $614, 811 in cash. The following day, January 30, 2013, agents intercepted a call between Jones and Crutcher in which Crutcher asked Jones for another four or five kilograms of cocaine. Following that call, the agents sought and obtained a wiretap for Jones's phone.
On February 16, 2013, agents intercepted a call between Jones and an unidentified male, in which they discussed a future drug transaction. Two days later, on February 18, 2013, agents intercepted several calls between Jones and a person identified as “Dee, ” which led them to believe the planned drug transaction would take place that day. The agents established surveillance on Jones at 2170 High View Road in Atlanta. Agents observed a number of vehicles coming and going from the High View Road residence, including a blue Chrysler Pacifica and a gray Nissan Maxima. When the Pacifica left the High View Road residence, the agents directed local law-enforcement officers to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle. The officers recovered a one-kilogram package of powder cocaine and a bag containing crack cocaine in the backseat of the vehicle. The agents likewise directed local law enforcement to conduct a traffic stop of the Maxima, when it left the High View Road residence. The officers recovered two kilograms of cocaine under the hood of the vehicle and eight kilograms of cocaine from trap compartments under the floorboards.
Following the conclusion of the wiretap investigation, DEA agents conducted a “takedown, ” in which they simultaneously arrested the various individuals involved in the investigation. R. at 1038. The takedown took place on January 15, 2014; DEA Special Agent Michael Connolly, the co-case agent for the investigation, was assigned arresting Jones. Special Agent Connolly arrested Jones at a Hampton Inn in East Point, Georgia. He subsequently took Jones to 515 Platoro Court, Jones's residence, because Special Agent Connolly had a seizure warrant for Jones's BMW, which was located at that address. When they arrived at Platoro Court, Special Agent Connolly advised Jones of his Miranda1 rights. Jones waived his rights and gave Special Agent Connolly consent to search his Platoro Court residence.
In the family room of the residence, the agents found a home-security-system monitor, a loaded firearm, and extra magazine under the couch cushions. In one of the kitchen cabinets, the agents found a money counter. They also recovered a number of plastic baggies from the residence. In the master bedroom, agents found another security-system monitor, a collection of watches, and a collection of sneakers that Jones stated was worth approximately $10, 000.
Jones told Special Agent Connolly he lived at Platoro Court, and a barber and his son also had stayed there. When asked whether there were any firearms in the house, Jones stated the barber may have left a gun in the house. When Special Agent Connolly asked Jones about his involvement in narcotics trafficking, Jones admitted he was a marijuana trafficker. Jones initially denied any involvement in cocaine trafficking ...

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