United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. TRAUGER United States District Judge.
the court is defendant Fredy Gerardo Bonilla-Cruz's
Motion to Dismiss Indictment (Doc. No. 53), on the basis that
he was indicted more than thirty days after his arrest, in
violation of the Speedy Trial Act (“STA” or
“Act”). The United States filed a Response in
opposition to the motion. (Doc. No. 62.) For the reasons set
forth herein, the court will deny the motion, finding no STA
on the morning of August 3, 2017, the Tennessee Highway
Patrol (“THP”) pulled over a 2005 Toyota Sequoia
with a Texas tag in Putnam County, Tennessee, for following
the vehicle in front of it at an unsafe distance. The driver
of the vehicle was identified as Fredy Gerardo Bonilla-Cruz
(the “defendant” or “Bonilla”). The
THP suspected that Bonilla and all four passengers in the
vehicle were illegal aliens. Homeland Security Investigations
agents arrived on the scene and identified everyone in the
vehicle as being in the United States illegally. Bonilla and
his co-defendant, Sody Mariela Fuentes-Puerto
(“Fuentes”), one of the passengers in the
vehicle, were taken into custody by officers with the
Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (“ICE”) at that time.
Criminal Complaint was filed on August 31, 2017, alleging
that Bonilla and Fuentes had violated 8 U.S.C. §
1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) by knowingly transporting illegal aliens
within the United States. (Doc. No. 3.) Arrest warrants for
Bonilla and Fuentes were issued the same day. (Doc. Nos. 4,
5.) Bonilla was arrested pursuant to the August 31 warrant in
Nashville on September 7, 2017. (Doc. No. 7.)
was arrested and detained on September 5, 2017 in Alexandria,
Louisiana. (Doc. No. 6.) On the same date, United States
Magistrate Judge Joseph H. L. Perez-Montes of the Western
District of Louisiana committed Fuentes to the custody of the
United States Marshal for transportation to this district.
United States v. Fuentes-Puerto, No.
1:17-MJ-00099-01 (W.D. La. Sept. 5, 2017) (Doc. No. 6,
Commitment to Another District).
was not promptly transported. On September 18, 2017,
Magistrate Judge Perez-Montes issued a Memorandum Order,
noting the “strained resources of the local
Marshal's service” and the fact that Fuentes had
been transported from Tennessee to Louisiana by ICE for
housing following her initial arrest in Tennessee following
the traffic stop. United States v. Fuentes-Puerto,
No. 1:17-MJ-00099-01 (W.D. La. Sept. 18, 2017) (Doc. No. 7,
Mem. Order). In light of those considerations, the magistrate
judge ordered that Fuentes be remanded to the custody of ICE
for transportation to the Middle District of Tennessee.
days later, on September 28, 2017, Fuentes was re-arrested in
the Middle District of Tennessee pursuant to the August 31
warrant. (Doc. No. 23.) She made her initial appearance in
this court on the same day. (Doc. No. 24.) On October 19,
2017, both defendants were jointly indicted in the Middle
District of Tennessee on the charge of transporting illegal
aliens in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii).
(Doc. Nos. 32 (Indictment) & 33 (Sealed Indictment).)
dates in the progress of this case are also relevant. On
September 7, 2017, the same day that Bonilla was arrested on
the current charges, the government filed a Motion for
Detention of Bonilla. (Doc. No. 8.) After the hearing was
postponed several times, Bonilla filed a Notice of Waiver of
Detention and Preliminary Hearings (Doc. No. 20) on September
20, and the court entered an Order cancelling the hearing and
granting the government's Motion for Detention on the
same day. (Doc. No. 21.)
September 28, 2017, the government filed, and the court
granted, a Motion for Detention pertaining to Fuentes. (Doc.
Nos. 22, 27.)
18 U.S.C. § 3161(b), Bonilla moves to dismiss the
Indictment against him on the basis that it was issued more
than thirty days after his September 7, 2017 arrest. The
government argues that dismissal is not required, because the
“the periods of delay resulting from Defendant
Fuentes-Puerto's removal and transportation from
Louisiana to Tennessee should be [excluded from] the
computation of the thirty-day indictment period for Defendant
Bonilla-Cruz.” (Doc. No. 62, at 3.) The government
argues, essentially, that the entire time period between
Fuentes' arrest in Louisiana on September 5, 2017 and her
initial appearance in Tennessee on September 28, 2017 should
be excluded from the STA computation.
The Speedy Trial Act
requires that a defendant be indicted within thirty days from
the date on which he is arrested or served with a summons in
connection with the charges in the indictment. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3161(b). The Act also provides a list of pretrial
delays that are excludable from the thirty-day period.
Id. § 3161(h)(1)-(9). If a defendant is not
indicted within that thirty days, as extended by the periods
excludable under § 3161(h), the indictment “shall
be dismissed, ” either with or without prejudice. 18
U.S.C. § 3162(a)(1). That is, “the Act requires
the district court to dismiss the ...