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United States v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton

September 6, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD SMITH (1), DONALD JENKINS-MILLS (2), SALATHIEL GOODSON (3), Defendants.

          ENTRY AND ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS (DOCS. 37, 38, 40)

          THOMAS M. ROSE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the Court on the Motions to Suppress (Docs. 37, 38) filed by Defendants Donald Smith (“Smith”) and Salathiel Goodson (“Goodson”) and joined by Defendant Donald Jenkins-Mills (“Jenkins-Mills”) (Doc. 40). Smith, Goodson and Jenkins-Mills were indicted for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of its isomers, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii) and § 846. (Doc. 21.)

         Smith moves to suppress all evidence seized, pursuant to a search warrant, from a residence at 51 Glenwood Avenue, Dayton, Ohio. Smith argues that suppression is warranted because (1) although there may have been probable cause to search the residence for certain specific packages known to contain contraband, law enforcement did not have probable cause to search the entire residence, and (2) the search warrant is overly broad in light of the supporting affidavit's contents.

         Goodson moves to suppress all evidence seized from the search of a 2008 Jeep Commander SUV. Goodson was driving the SUV when he was stopped for speeding and subsequently the SUV was searched. Goodson argues that the officers who searched the vehicle did not have any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying Goodson's detention and the search of the vehicle.

         On June 22, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the Motions to Suppress. (Doc. 44.) Smith then filed a memorandum in support of his Motion to Suppress, which Jenkins-Mills joined. (Docs. 47, 48.) Goodson declined to file a post-hearing memorandum. The Government responded to Smith's memorandum, in response to which Smith filed a reply. (Docs. 49, 51.) This matter is now fully briefed and ripe for the Court's review.

         For the reasons below, the Motions to Suppress are DENIED.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         The parties do not dispute the facts, although they dispute their legal significance. The following findings are made based on the testimony and exhibits submitted by the parties at the June 22, 2017 hearing on the Motions to Suppress.

         A. January 17, 2017 Search of Goodson's Vehicle

         On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, Trooper Joseph M. Weeks of the Ohio Highway Patrol was assigned as a Task Force Officer (“TFO”) to the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force (“MVBSTF”). (Doc. 44 at 7-8, 17 & 20-21). At approximately 10:09 AM, Trooper Weeks observed a 2008, silver Jeep Commander SUV traveling in excess of the posted speed limit southbound on Interstate 75 in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 4511.21D. (Id. at 8-9, 20-21, 27-28; Gov't Ex. 1). Trooper Weeks therefore initiated a traffic stop on the SUV. (Id.)

         As Trooper Weeks approached the SUV, he detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from its interior. (Doc. 44 at 11, 23). When Trooper Weeks asked the driver to produce his license, he told Trooper Weeks that he was not a valid driver. (Id. at 10). Trooper Weeks asked the driver to exit his vehicle, at which time the driver said that he had a small amount of marijuana on his person and a marijuana cigar inside the vehicle. (Id. at 10-12). No one else was in the SUV.

         Trooper Weeks determined that the driver of the SUV was Defendant Robert C. Goodson of 5125 Norris Drive, Dayton, Ohio 45414. (Id. at 9-10; Gov't Ex. 1). Due to Goodson's admitted possession of marijuana, Trooper Weeks and TFO Ray Swallen conducted a probable cause search of the SUV. (Id. at 11-13, 22-23). During the search, TFO Swallen observed a DVD player in a box stored in the vehicle's third row seat area. (Id. at 12-13, 24-25). Goodson also had approximately $2, 000 in U.S. currency in his front pocket. (Id. at 18, 25-26). Trooper Weeks seized the marijuana on Goodson's person and the marijuana cigar discovered inside the vehicle. (Id. at 24; Gov't Ex. 2.)

         Following the search, Trooper Weeks issued Goodson a warning for his traffic infraction and a citation for his possession of marijuana. (Doc. 44 at 14-15, 22; Gov't Exs. 1, 2.)

         B. January 23, 2017 Search of 51 Glenwood ...


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