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United States v. Ijiyode

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

April 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
v.
ADEBOWALE IJIYODE Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Adebowale Ijiyode's Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. No. 47), to which the Government has responded in opposition (Doc. No. 53). Neither party requests a hearing, nor is one necessary because the Motion presents a legal issue based upon unchallenged facts that were presented in an Affidavit for Search Warrant. For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Suppress will be denied.

         I. Factual Background

         The Affidavit for Search Warrant sets forth the following facts:

         On February 10, 2017, a Postal Inspector was “profiling parcels suspected of containing illegal narcotics, ” when he came upon a package mailed from San Francisco, California, and addressed to a recipient at 3035 George Buchanan Drive, Lavergne, Tennessee. (Doc. No. 53-1, Affidavit ¶ 10). The inspector noticed that the flaps on the parcel were glued and, suspicions aroused, had a DEA drug detection canine named Eclipse sniff the parcel. After a “positive alert” for the odor of illegal narcotics from Eclipse, the inspector sought and obtained a search warrant for the parcel. (Id. ¶ 12).

         Upon opening the package and removing its contents, the inspector found three clear, vacuum-sealed bags containing marijuana that weighed a total of three pounds. Two of the bags were then reinserted into the package, along with a tracking device and a device to alert law enforcement officers when the parcel was opened. (Id. ¶ 14).

         On February 14, 2017, the package was delivered to 3035 George Buchanan Drive and subject to surveillance by agents. Although an “apparent resident” entered and exited the residence “multiple times, ” he did not touch the package. (Id. ¶ 16).[1]

         Around 5:00 p.m., a vehicle stopped near the residence. The driver exited the vehicle, picked up the package, and then returned to the vehicle. (Id.).[2] The vehicle was then followed by agents.

         At one point, the vehicle stopped, and an occupant moved the package from the passenger compartment to the trunk. (Id. ¶ 17). The vehicle, still under surveillance, proceeded to a grocery store parking lot where a passenger “exited the vehicle without the subject parcel, ”entered the store, and then returned to the vehicle. (Id. ¶ 18).

         The vehicle was then followed to 1312 South Hampton Court, Antioch, Tennessee, where it was observed pulling into an attached garage. “The GPS tracking device included in the package indicated that the Subject Parcel was also in the Target Residence.” (Id. ¶ 19). Agents could not tell, however, whether the package had been opened because the “electronic device to alert Law Enforcement Officers” apparently was not working correctly. (Id. ¶ 20).

         Based upon the foregoing, agents sought a search warrant for the residence located at 1312 South Hampton Court. At approximately 6:02 p.m., which was little more than an hour after the package was picked up from the George Buchanan Drive residence, a Magistrate Judge issued a search warrant. During the subsequent search agents discovered and confiscated the package, four firearms, small packages of alleged narcotics, financial records, and cellphones, among other things. Ijiyode seeks to suppress the fruits of that search as well as other evidence that was discovered based on that search.

         II. Legal Discussion

         “[T]he right of a citizen to retreat into the home and ‘there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion' stands at the core of the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Brown, 828 F.3d 375, 381 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 31 (2001)). Therefore, absent exigent circumstances, seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable. Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. 740, 748-749 (1984); Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204, 211-212 (1981); Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980).

         Ijiyode argues that his right to be free from an unreasonable search was violated because the tracker device's location in the residence was used as a basis for securing the search warrant. Two Supreme Court decisions - United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983) and United States v. ...


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