"Facts" section, including the place of the proposed transaction,
and (4) Zilberbrand had specifically identified Mided at the time
of his own arrest. Certainly a reasonably prudent person could
then have believed Mided was involved in this drug transaction.
That is all the agents needed to arrest him lawfully.
Search Incident to Lawful Arrest
Mided next argues the agent's opening of the package for the
field test was beyond the permissible scope of a search incident
to an arrest under Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 763, 89
S.Ct. 2034, 2040, 23 L.Ed.2d 685 (1969). Mided couples that
argument with United States v. Griffith, 537 F.2d 900, 904 (7th
Cir. 1976) to urge that the agents placed the package near him as
a pretext for allowing them to open the package.
Much could be said for a view of the Fourth Amendment under
which an arrest on probable cause, followed by a seizure of
suspected contraband in the arrestee's possession, would not
itself justify a warrantless search of the seized property. After
all, once that property is in the hands of an arresting officer
and the suspect is in secure custody, arguably there is no need
for a hasty examination rather than presentation of the search
warrant issue to an impartial magistrate (see this Court's
opinion in Fleming, No. 80 CR 712, slip op. at 9-11 (Feb. 20,
1981), aff'd by our Court of Appeals, 677 F.2d at 606-08). That
would be a fair reading of the "exclusive control" concept
articulated in United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 15, 97
S.Ct. 2476, 2485, 53 L.Ed.2d 538 (1977).
But the law of search and seizure has not developed in that
fashion, and there may be a number of reasons it has not. For one
thing, such a rule would complicate the analysis of variables:
just how "secure" the custody was (where the suspect was not
(say) handcuffed, the number of officers involved would be a
factor); whether it was feasible to keep the suspect in custody
and still go before the magistrate with the putative contraband
(again that would be a function of the numbers of officers, the
logistics and physical location of the arrest and detention, and
other factors — considerations that have clearly affected the
automobile search cases), and so on. It may also be legitimate,
in law enforcement terms, for courts to prefer something closer
to a "bright line" rule in the interests of certainty. In any
case, whatever the cause, in both our Court of Appeals and the
Supreme Court the Fourth Amendment has been given a different
Under that reading, once Mided was arrested the agents had the
authority to seize and then search anything found within Mided's
"grabbing area." Fleming, 677 F.2d at 606. Whatever search is
made of the items so seized is considered incident to the arrest
and must not be undertaken too long after the arrest. Id. at 607.
Surely the bag was within Mided's "grabbing area." As for the
second part of the inquiry, an agent seized the bag immediately
and looked into it seeing the two packages. Just as in Fleming,
the agent's search of the contents of the package within five
minutes of its seizure was within the permissible time frame of a
Chimel search. Fleming, 677 F.2d at 607-08.
Mided's pretext argument miscasts the reason the agents were
allowed to search the contents of the package. Any package found
within the arrestee's "grabbing area" can be searched whether it
is opened or closed. New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, 460-61,
101 S.Ct. 2860, 2864, 69 L.Ed.2d 768 (1981). In other words, the
agents needed no additional authority to open the package once it
was seized out of Mided's "grabbing area," as long as that
subsequent search was proximate in time to the arrest.
Search of the Jeep
Mided lastly relies on the automobile-search principles
announced in United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 102 S.Ct. 2157,
72 L.Ed.2d 572 (1982) to argue his jeep should not have been
searched. In that respect Mided asserts the agents did not
have probable cause to believe any contraband was contained in
the jeep. In response the government contends Section 881(b)
authorized seizure of the jeep, and once it was lawfully seized
the agents were entitled to conduct an inventory search of its
Section 881(b) authorizes seizure of a vehicle if the agents
had probable cause to believe the vehicle had been used in
transporting controlled substances. Clearly at the time the
agents seized Mided's jeep, they had probable cause to believe
Mided had transported cocaine in the jeep.
However, establishing probable cause for seizing the jeep only
goes halfway in sustaining the agents' actions. Such seizure must
also be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. United States v.
Kemp, 690 F.2d 397, 401 (4th Cir. 1982). Two factors are
significant in that regard under the cases:
1. Mided's jeep being parked in the public street,
he could have no reasonable expectation of privacy
that would prevent its seizure under the Fourth
Amendment. G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States,
429 U.S. 338, 351-52, 97 S.Ct. 619, 627-28, 50 L.Ed.2d
2. Mided also had a lesser expectation of privacy
in the jeep as property subject to forfeiture. For
that purpose the government had an interest in the
jeep, which arose at the time the jeep was used in
violation of the statute. Kemp, 690 F.2d at 401-02 n.
6; see United States v. $84,000 U.S. Currency,
717 F.2d 1090, 1101-02 (7th Cir. 1983); see also United
States v. One 1978 Mercedes Benz, 711 F.2d 1297,
1300-02 (5th Cir. 1983) (approving the Kemp
Thus it cannot be said a warrantless seizure of the jeep unduly
impinged upon Mided's expectation of privacy in the jeep so as to
violate his Fourth Amendment right against an unreasonable
Once lawfully seized, a vehicle is subject to an inventory
search conducted according to established procedures. Such a
search is not unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. South
Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 372-76, 96 S.Ct. 3092,
3098-3100, 49 L.Ed.2d 1000 (1976); United States v. Griffin,
729 F.2d 475 at 483-484 (7th Cir. 1984);*fn3 see also Illinois v.
Lafayette, ___ U.S. ___, 103 S.Ct. 2605, 77 L.Ed.2d 65 (1983).
Griffin's testimony and the government's exhibits establish the
jeep was searched at the DEA garage according to established
procedures. Accordingly, the scale found during the course of
that search is admissible.
Mided's motion to suppress is denied in its entirety.