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United States v. Johnson

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 19, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ERIC SCOTT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROSEMARY M. COLLYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Eric Scott requests release pending trial pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142. Mr. Scott is charged by indictment in eight counts of a fifty-five count indictment, including for one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(iv), and 841(b)(1)(B)(iv). See Indictment [Dkt. 1] at 3, 5-7, 13-14 (counts 1, 2, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, and 47). The Court held a bond review hearing on June 5, 2019 and took the motion under advisement. After considering all of the arguments made in the briefs and at the hearing, the Court will deny Mr. Scott's Motion for Bond. This memorandum is prepared in compliance with the statutory obligation that “the judicial officer shall . . . include written findings of fact and a written statement of the reasons for the detention.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i)(1).

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         A. Description of the Offense

         At the detention hearing, the United States proceeded by proffer based on the Indictment and its detailed opposition brief. Gov't's Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Bond Review (Opp'n) [Dkt. 63]; see also Mot. for Review of Order of Detention by Agreement (Mot.) [Dkt. 61]. Mr. Scott stresses that none of the allegations against him involves the use of or possession of a weapon or any acts of violence and contests whether the car in which the drugs were located was his car. The Court makes the following findings of fact:

         Mr. Scott was arrested in December 2017 after an investigation of narcotics trafficking in the Washington, D.C. area conducted from approximately November 2015 to March 2018 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The investigation included controlled purchases by confidential sources assisting the FBI and ATF, physical surveillance, interception of wire and electronic communications, and execution of search warrants, among other tools.

         Through interceptions of other target phones and those speaking with Mr. Scott's phone, the government concluded that Mr. Scott was engaged in the distribution of various narcotics, including PCP, cocaine base, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. The prosecutor did not cite to specific calls or indicate what language or terms lead the government to believe Mr. Scott was engaged in the distribution of narcotics.

         Surveillance units observed Mr. Scott on May 4, 2017 “conducting what was believed to be a drug transaction.” Opp'n at 2. The government proffered that Mr. Jahi Marshall entered the front passenger seat of Mr. Scott's vehicle, sat for a short time, exited the vehicle, and walked behind some bushes to an area the government believed to be a “stash location.” Id. at 3. Law enforcement attempted to stop Mr. Scott's vehicle after Mr. Marshall exited, but Mr. Scott fled the scene and eventually crashed. Id. Mr. Scott was not arrested on May 4, 2017, but was permitted to go to the hospital to seek medical assistance. However, en route to the hospital, Mr. Scott asked the paramedics to release him from their vehicle and they did so.

         Law enforcement searched the vehicle that Mr. Scott had crashed after he left the scene for the hospital and recovered “a glut of illegal narcotics and drug trafficking paraphernalia, particularly PCP, cocaine base, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, a plastic funnel, numerous empty glass vials commonly used for PCP, a digital scale with white powdery residue, a package of razor blades and $3, 677 in U.S. Currency.” Id. Law enforcement also recovered Mr. Scott's cellular telephone, which revealed “photos of large quantities of drugs on scales that appeared to be cocaine and heroin” as well as “a video of a large block of cocaine with Scott narrating that he does not put anything on his stuff.” Id.

         Mr. Scott was charged in a Complaint on May 5, 2017 although he was not apprehended and arrested until December 2017.

         Agents executed a search warrant at Mr. Scott's residence on May 19, 2017 and recovered a vial of PCP, glass vials, a digital scale, and several cell phones. Id. at 4.

         B. Criminal History of the Defendant

         Based on a preliminary criminal history calculation prepared by the United States Probation Office for the District of Columbia, the Court has information about Mr. Scott's criminal history. See Scott Pre-Plea Criminal History Calculation [Dkt. 36]. Mr. Scott has two prior criminal convictions and was under supervised release at the time of the alleged offense on a 2005 conviction in the United ...


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