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Gamboa v. Executive Office for United States Attys.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 1, 2015

EDGAR MOSQUERA GAMBOA, Plaintiff,
v.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS, et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          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.

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         MEMORANDUM OPINION [Dkt. #45]

         RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Edgar Mosquera Gamboa (" plaintiff" ) commenced this action under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), see 5 U.S.C. § 552, seeking records pertaining to a joint task force investigation by the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys (" EOUSA" ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (" FBI" ) (together, " defendants" ), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (" DEA" ), into money laundering and cocaine trafficking offenses for which plaintiff was ultimately convicted. See Compl. [Dkt. #1]. On August 26, 2014, the Court denied in part defendants' first Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #26] on the grounds that: (1) the DEA did not demonstrate that its search for records responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request was adequate; (2) the FBI did not demonstrate that informant(s) provided information under an implied assurance of confidentiality for purposes of FOIA Exemption 7(D); and (3) neither the FBI nor the Executive Office for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (" OCDETF" ) demonstrated that the withholding of information under FOIA Exemption 7(F) was appropriate. See generally Gamboa v. Exec. Office for U.S. Attorneys, 65 F.Supp.3d 157 (D.D.C. 2014). The Court assumes familiarity with the factual and procedural background of this case and, in the interest of judicial economy, addresses only the legal issues now at hand in Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #45] pertaining to the remaining three issues. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, the relevant law, and the entire record herein, the Court GRANTS defendants' Motion and DISMISSES the case.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         FOIA cases are typically resolved on motions for summary judgment. See Petit-Frere v. U.S. Attny's Office for the S. Dist. of Flor., 800 F.Supp.2d 276, 279 (D.D.C. 2011) (citations omitted), aff'd per curiam, No. 11-5285, 2012 WL 4774807, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 19, 2012). A court will grant summary judgment if " the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In the FOIA context, an agency may meet its burden solely on the basis of affidavits or declarations, see Valencia-Lucena v. U.S. Coast Guard, 180 F.3d 321, 326, 336 U.S. App.D.C. 386 (D.C. Cir. 1999), as long as they " describe the documents and the justifications for nondisclosure with reasonably specific detail, demonstrate that the information withheld logically falls within the claimed exemption, and are not controverted by either contrary evidence in the record [or] by evidence of agency bad faith," Military Audit Project v. Casey, 656 F.2d 724, 738, 211 U.S. App.D.C. 135 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (footnote omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         I. The Adequacy of the DEA's Search for Responsive Records

         I begin by addressing the adequacy of the DEA's search for records responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request. " It is elementary that an agency responding to a FOIA request must conduct a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents, and, if challenged, must demonstrate beyond material doubt that the search was reasonable." Truitt v. Dep't of State, 897 F.2d 540, 542, 283 U.S. App.D.C. 86 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (footnotes, brackets, and internal

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quotation marks omitted). Unfortunately for plaintiff, I conclude that the DEA's search was appropriate.

         In July 2010, plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the DEA that read in relevant part:

" I would like to have the two (2) lab report for the case # CR-H-82-3
1) Lab report F3806
2) Lab report F3808
Requested information will consist of the dates from 1993- to ...

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