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UNITED STATES v. HUGGINS

March 21, 1990

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
VICTOR HUGGINS, PAUL GRANT, FRANCIS BENSON, and ALVIN JOHNSON


George H. Revercomb, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: REVERCOMB

GEORGE H. REVERCOMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 The defendants *fn1" in this matter are indicted with one count of possession with intention to distribute cocaine base of 5 grams and more in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(iii), two counts of using a firearm during and in relation to the possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and one count of possession with intention to distribute cocaine base of 5 grams and more within one-thousand feet of the real property of a public school in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 845(a). This matter is before the Court pursuant to defendant Johnson's motion for suppression of physical evidence on the grounds that the search warrant was not based upon probable cause.

 I. Facts

 The defendants were arrested at the premises of 934 Quincy Street, N.W. on December 20, 1989. That day at 8:10 p.m., District of Columbia Metropolitan Police officers and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service executed an unnumbered D.C. Superior Court search warrant for the premises.

 When the police executed the warrant they found an open trash bag in the kitchen with several rocks of crack cocaine with an approximate weight of twenty-five grams lying on top of the garbage. They also found an unloaded .32 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, serial number 583689, in the trash bag. A crack pipe was sitting on a kitchen counter and other drug paraphernalia was found in the kitchen cabinets.

 A search of the living room resulted in the recovery of an unloaded .22 caliber Browning handgun, serial number 655PM8161, from underneath a cushion on the sofa. A razor blade and other paraphernalia were also found in the living room.

 In the ground floor den, the police recovered a cigarette package containing thirty-four packets of cocaine, with a total weight of approximately fifty-one grams, behind the sofa. On a bookcase in the den was a crack pipe, rolling papers, and other drug paraphernalia.

 In the basement or downstairs den, the police recovered a napkin on top of a bookcase with approximately forty-nine grams of cocaine. The police also found two other rocks of crack cocaine, weighing approximately forty-three grams, lying on the floor behind the bar area in the den. Several rounds of .32 caliber ammunition were also found.

 In an upstairs bedroom the police recovered a small black leather case containing five rounds of .32 caliber ammunition from a leather coat.

 Investigator Henry C. Lancaster obtained a search warrant for the entire premises of 934 Quincy Street, N.W., on December 14, 1989. Accordingly to the affidavit, an informant told Lancaster, and DEA Agent Ryans, that "cocaine (crack) was being sold from the premises of 934 Quincy Street, N.W."

 II. Legal Analysis

 A valid search warrant may only be issued upon an affidavit or complaint which sets forth facts establishing probable cause. United States Const. amend IV; Fed.R.Crim.P. 4(a). To demonstrate probable cause, an affidavit must set forth facts sufficient to induce a reasonably prudent person to believe that a search thereof will uncover evidence of a crime. Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41, 55, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1040, 87 S. Ct. 1873 (1967); United States v. Laws, 257 U.S. App. D.C. 197, 808 F.2d 92, 94 (D.C.Cir. 1986). To determine whether a search warrant is supported by probable cause, a flexible ...


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