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United States of America v. Gezo Goeong Edwards

July 26, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
GEZO GOEONG EDWARDS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Defendants Gezo Goeong Edwards, William Bowman, Henry Brandon Williams, and eleven co-Defendants were charged by superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and thirteen other individual counts. Superseding Indictment, ECF No. [28], at 1-8. Defendants Edwards, Bowman, and Williams are proceeding to trial. Presently before the Court are the following motions in limine:

 Defendant Edwards' [241] Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized from 1219 Elm Grove Circle, Silver Spring, MD;  Defendant Edwards' [242] Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from Interception of Visual Non-Verbal Conduct in or Near Storage Unit A306;  Defendant Edwards' [244] Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from Interception of Wire Communications and Seizure of Electronic Communications;  Defendant Edwards' [247] Motion to Amend Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from Interception of Wire Communications (Doc #244);  Defendant Bowman's [248] Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements Resulting from Illegal Wiretap Surveillance;  Defendant Bowman's [252] Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from the Search and Seizure of the Defendant's Cell Phones After His Arrest on April 26, 2011, as Fruit of the Poisonous Tree;  Defendant Bowman's [253] Motion to Suppress Statements Made by the Defendant After his Arrest on April 26, 2011, as Fruit of the Poisonous Tree;  Defendant Bowman's [256] Motion to Suppress Visual and Non-Verbal Evidence Obtained from the Use of a Closed Circuit Television ("CCTV") Placed Inside of Storage Unit A306, at the Public Storage Store Located at 3005 Kenilworth Avenue, Hyattsville, Maryland; and  Defendant Bowman's [257] Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from Storage Unit A306, at the Public Storage Store Located at 3005 Kenilworth Avenue, Hyattsville, Maryland.

Defendant Edwards' [244] motion to suppress and Defendant Bowman's [248] motion to suppress seek to suppress the wiretap interception authorizations issued for telephones purportedly used by Defendant Bowman. Defendant Edwards' [247] motion to amend seeks to amend his motion to suppress the wiretap to include the affidavits filed in support of the wiretap applications, which were inadvertently omitted from his initial filings. The other motions listed above ask the Court to suppress other evidence obtained at least in part because of the intercepted communications, on the basis that this evidence is "fruit of the poisonous tree." For the reasons stated below, Defendant Edwards' [247] Motion to Amend Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained from Interception of Wire Communications is GRANTED; the remaining motions are DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

The Government alleges that from January 2009 until April 2011, the Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute large quantities of cocaine. Superseding Indictment at 1-3. Specifically, the Government asserts that Defendants Edwards and Bowman obtained large quantities of cocaine from supplier(s) in southern California, and transported the cocaine back to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Gov't Resp., ECF No. [290], at 2. Defendant Bowman would then (1) distribute some of the cocaine to other narcotics traffickers, including Defendant Williams; (2) distribute some of the cocaine on behalf of Defendant Edwards; and (3) convert some of the cocaine to cocaine base ("crack cocaine"), and distribute the crack cocaine to his own customers. Id. As part of the investigation, the Government applied for and received several court-authorized wiretap interceptions of three separate cellular telephones, discussed below.

A.Target Telephone 1: 202-262-2549

On December 7, 2010, the Government submitted an application for an order authorizing the interception of wire communications to and from Target Telephone 1. The Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Timothy S. Pak noted that the cellular phone was registered to John Doe and associated with a fictitious address in the District of Columbia, but had been used by Bowman on several occasions. 12/7/10 Pak Aff. ¶¶ 4b, 7. Judge Richard W. Roberts granted the application, but the wiretap was terminated due to a lack of activity on December 27, 2010. Gov't Resp. at 4 n.3. 1/13/11 Pak Aff. ¶ 4c.

B.Target Telephone 2: 202-445-1553

On January 13, 2011, the Government submitted an application for an order authorizing the interception of wire communications to and from Target Telephone 2. 1/13/11 Pak Aff. TT2 was registered to "Sam Leonard" and associated with a fictitious address in the District of Columbia. Id. at ¶ 7. The Affidavit listed Bowman, Andrew Colter, Omar Ismaeel, Slonsio Cheah, and Michael Rivers as possible targets of the wiretap. Id. at ¶ 5. It specifically alleged that the investigation "has determined that Bowman is utilizing the target telephone to discuss and facilitate drug trafficking in the Washington, D.C. area," and the wiretap was sought in order to determine:

(i) "the nature scope, and extent of the narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities in which the targets are engaged";

(ii) "the methods of operations and procedures of the targets including, but not limited to, the means and manner by which individuals are obtaining and redistributing large quantities of cocaine in various locations in the United States";

(iii) "the identities, roles, and telephone numbers of participants in the illegal activities, including accomplices, aiders and abettors, co-conspirators, and other participants in their illegal activities";

(iv) "the source of money and controlled substances, primarily cocaine"; (v) "the manner in which these illegal activities are being conducted, including the distribution and possession of said controlled substances, and the money involved in those activities";

(vi) "the existence and location of apartments, residences, businesses, and other premises utilized in furtherance of these illegal activities";

(vii) "the methods of operation for laundering proceeds of illegal drug sales";

(viii) "the existence and location of records of the illegal activities";

(ix) "the existence, location, and source of the resources used to finance the illegal activities";

(x) "the existence, location, and disposition of the proceeds from those activities"; (xi) "the existence and locations of other items or means used in furtherance of those activities";

(xii) "the dates, times, and details for the continued commission of the above-mentioned offenses"; and

(xiii) "other evidence necessary for the successful prosecution and conviction of the above-described criminal activities."

1/13/11 Pak Aff. ¶¶ 7, 9b. The factual allegations contained in the Affidavit are discussed at length infra, Section III.A, C. Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth authorized the wiretap for thirty days. Gov't Ex. A. Judge Richard W. Roberts reauthorized the wiretap for additional thirty day periods on February 11, 2011, March 11, 2011, and April 8, 2011. Gov't Exs. B-D. Defendant Edwards was added as a possible target as part of the April 8, 2011 reauthorization. 4/8/11 Pak Aff. ¶ 6.

C.Target Telephone 3: 202-425-5430

On March 19, 2011, the Government submitted an application for an order authorizing the interception of wire communications to and from Target Telephone 3. 3/21/11 Pak Aff. TT3 was registered to William Bowman and associated with 125 16th Street, NE, Washington, D.C. Id. at ΒΆ 7. The Affidavit listed Bowman, Edwards, Slonsio Cheah, Tracy Brooks, Willie Moorer, Robert Richards, and Shawn Lucas as possible targets of the wiretap. Id. ...


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