United States District Court, D. Columbia.
Decided August 25, 2014
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
EDGAR MOSQUERA GAMBOA, Plaintiff, Pro se, ADELANTO, CA.
For EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF U.S. ATTORNEYS, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendants: Dionne S. Shy, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.
RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #26]. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, relevant law, and the entire record in this case, the defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (" FBI" ), " [p]laintiff Edgar Mosquera Gamboa and his associates were the subject[s] of a joint task force law enforcement investigation for criminal activities including money laundering and cocaine drug trafficking." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (" Defs.' Mem." ), Declaration of David M. Hardy (" Hardy Decl." ) ¶ 4. Plaintiff has brought this action under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), see 5 U.S.C. § 552, in an attempt to obtain records about himself and his criminal case that are allegedly maintained by three components of the United States Department of Justice (" DOJ" ): the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (" EOUSA" ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (" DEA" ). See Complaint (" Compl." ) at 3-3B (page numbers designated by plaintiff). Plaintiff sought documents " that he believes would help . . . him in obtaining his ['seized'] (not forfeited) funds in a collateral challenge" to his criminal conviction. Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts As To Which There Exists a Genuine Issue Necessary to be Litigated (" Pl.'s SOMF" ) at 2 (page numbers designated by the Court) (brackets in original).
I. Executive Office for United States Attorneys
In his initial FOIA request to the EOUSA, plaintiff, who identified his criminal case by district court case number, sought the following information:
(1) FBI 302 documentation.
(2) All lab reports.
(3) Vaughn Index Material.
(4) Search and/or Arrest Warrants.
(5) Indictment (both original and Superseding).
(6) Forfeiture Notices.
(7) Affidavits and or Statements.
(8) Documentation of Evidence Seized/Confiscated.
(9) Any and All Investigative Memorandums/Materials.
Defs.' Mem., Declaration of David Luczynski (" Luczynski Decl." ), Ex. A (Freedom of Information Act Request dated February 28, 2011) at 1-2. In separate correspondence, in addition to the items listed above, plaintiff requested DEA Lab Report Nos. F3806, F3807 and F3808 and fingerprint reports from 1993 until the present. See Luczynski Decl., Ex. B (Freedom of Information Act Request dated April 19, 2011). A search for records in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas yielded no responsive records. See id. ¶ 7; see also id., Ex. C (Letter to plaintiff from Susan B. Gerson, Acting Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Staff, EOUSA, dated June 20, 2011). Plaintiff appealed this determination to the DOJ's Office of Information Policy (" OIP" ). See id., Ex. E (Letter to Office of Information Policy from plaintiff dated July 19, 2011). OIP remanded the matter " for further review and processing of records . . . located subsequent to [the] appeal." Id., Ex. G (Letter to plaintiff from Janice Galli McLeod, Associate Director, OIP, dated February 9, 2012, regarding Appeal No. AP-2011-02702).
On remand, plaintiff narrowed his request to the following information:
1. Lab Reports F-3806 [and] F-3808. 2. Surveillance Log for Feb. 26, 1993 for Special Agents Efrain Gutierrez, Clark Webb, John R. Seeger, Herb Hoover, Jr., Luis A[.] Vazquez, and D. Hansen. 3. Forfeiture Notices and final dispositions for the seizure of $2,495[,]733.00 on March 12, 1993, from a Dodge Caravan and the seizure of $255,710.00 from the master bedroom at 16615 Dounreays, both in Houston, Texas. Additional, the seizure of $522.00 from Edgar Mosquera Gamboa on the day of his arrest in Houston, Texas, on March 12, 1993.
Id., Ex. J (Letter from plaintiff dated February 28, 2013). A second search of records maintained by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas yielded no responsive records. See id., Ex. K (Letter from Susan B. Gerson dated March 11, 2013).
II. Federal Bureau of Investigation
A. FOIPA Request No. 402645-001
Plaintiff's original FOIA request to the FBI sought:
The (2) Lab Reports from case no. CR-9382-3, Lab Report F-3806 and F-3808 that had been referred to (F.B.I.) by the (D.E.A.) on Aug[.] 29, 2011[and] any and all records relat[ing] to [plaintiff], and that [the FBI has] obtained, and stored by listing outside parties.
Hardy Decl., Ex. A (Freedom of Information Act Request dated October 5, 2011). A search of records maintained by FBI's Headquarters (" FBIHQ" ) located approximately 1,233 pages of potentially responsive records. See id. ¶ 9. After receipt of plaintiff's agreement to pay fees for photocopies, see id. ¶ ¶ 9-11, of 182 pages of records reviewed by FBIHQ staff, 89 pages were released either in full on in redacted form, relying on FOIA Exemptions 6, 7(C), 7(D), and 7(E), id. ¶ 15. In
the course of processing its records, FBIHQ staff located records which had originated at two other DOJ components (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Administration) and at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (formerly the United States Customs Service), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. See id. ¶ 15. These records were referred to those entities for direct response to plaintiff. See id.
After this litigation commenced, in Plaintiff's Response [Dkt. #11] to Defendant's Status Report [Dkt. #10], plaintiff ...