United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
August 3, 2005.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
DARYL R. WILSON, SR., Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM STIEHL, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion and
amended motion to suppress evidence and statements (Docs. 22,
39). The government has filed responses to both motions. The
Court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress and
amended motion and took the matter under advisement.
The defendant asserts several grounds for suppression, inter
alia: that there were no grounds for approaching the defendant
while in his parked car; that he was threatened with a drawn
pistol and then his car was searched without his consent; that he
was taken to the United States Marshal's Service office and
questioned and gave a statement without being given his Miranda
warnings; and, that he was subsequently questioned at DEA offices
in Fairview Heights and that any statement given at that time was
tainted by the prior questioning.
1. The Arrest of the Defendant.
Special Agent Michael Rehg, DEA, testified that on February 13,
2004, he had received information from an informant, Manfred
McGee, that "D-Mack" would be coming from St. Louis and was going
to deliver approximately half a kilogram of cocaine in the East
St. Louis area, at a Mobil Station at Martin Luther King and
Collinsville Avenue. The information was that the individual
would be driving a black car with Missouri plates. The car was
identified at some point as either a black Thunderbird or an IROC Camaro. S/A
Rehg testified that he realized that this "D-Mack" was Daryl
Wilson, whom he knew, and that the car was most likely a
S/A Rehg contacted the United States Marshal's Service for
assistance and waited near the station for the car to arrive.
They observed a black Firebird come down Martin Luther King
Drive, as though he had come off the Martin Luther King Bridge
from St. Louis. The defendant crossed over Collinsville Avenue,
(which the Court notes is the first intersection off the Bridge
exit and approximately 4 blocks from the Marshal's offices in the
Federal Courthouse in East St. Louis) slowed down and passed the
Mobil Station, entering a parking lot adjoining the Mobil
Station. The driver then backed his car into the parking lot. At
that point, to be sure it was Wilson, S/A Rehg asked Deputy
United States Marshal Thomas Woods to approach the car from
behind and try to identify the driver. S/A Rehg testified that as
Deputy Woods approached the car from the side, it lurched forward
as another car pulled in front of the Firebird, and the defendant
was then taken out of the car by Woods and handcuffed. S/A Rehg
stated that he believed the defendant was attempting to get away
from Deputy Woods, nearly hitting Deputy Woods and a police
vehicle, in an attempt to flee the area.
S/A Kent Weeks, DEA, testified that around noon on February 13,
2004, he and S/A Rehg met with Manfred McGee to discuss his
knowledge of a delivery of cocaine which was to be made in the
East St. Louis area. McGee identified the delivery person as
"D-Mack" who lived in Alton, Illinois and had a second residence
in Florissant, Missouri. S/A Weeks testified that McGee stated
that D-Mack would be driving a black Firebird and bringing a half
kilo of cocaine to East St. Louis. S/A Weeks was in the same car
with S/A Rehg when the defendant arrived at the parking lot near
the Mobil Station. He heard S/A Rehg ask Deputy Woods to approach
the car and check out what the guy was doing there. He, too,
observed the driver attempt to pull away as Deputy Woods
approached the side of the car, in what he believed was an
attempt to flee. There were, at that time, four, or possibly
five, other Deputy Marshals around the area as they arrived at
the scene. Deputy Woods testified that on February 13, 2004, he was asked
to assist S/A Rehg and to approach a black Pontiac Firebird
driven by "D-Mack," a black male, which whom Woods was not
familiar. The car was near the Mobil Station in East St. Louis,
and was believed to be there to deliver cocaine. Deputy Woods did
not see the car enter the lot or park. As he approached the side
of the car he made eye contact with the defendant who was in his
car backed into a parking space to the east of the Mobil station.
At that point, the defendant's car lurched and Deputy Woods
thought he was going to be hit by the car. He drew his weapon and
shouted to the defendant to stop. Deputy Woods testified that he
was dressed in a bulletproof vest clearly marked with "police"
and "U.S. Marshal" on it when he approached the defendant's car.
As he approached the side of the car he made eye contact with the
defendant. At the same time, another vehicle driven by Task Force
Detective Hill pulled in front of the defendant's car. Deputy
Woods thought the two cars were going to collide, but they did
not. Deputy Woods opened the driver's side door and pulled the
defendant out of the car. He was placed on the ground and
handcuffed. Deputy Woods testified that TFD Hill also had his
weapon drawn and pointed at the defendant. The defendant was
transported to the United States Marshal's office in the Federal
Building by another deputy.
Task Force Detective Danny Hill, now with East St. Louis Police
Department, testified that he had learned from S/A Rehg that a
black male, approximately six-feet tall, driving a black car,
possibly a TransAm, would be making a drug delivery at a Mobil
Station in the area of Martin Luther King Drive and Collinsville
Avenue. He was positioned about three blocks away from the Mobil
Station, and he approached the front of the car as Deputy Woods
approached the rear of the defendant's car. As Hill pulled in
front of the car it lurched forward, and he then saw Deputy Woods
with his weapon drawn yelling, "Police, police." The defendant's
car was too close for Hill to get out of the driver's side, so he
got on the other side to help to secure the scene. Hill testified
that as the car lurched towards his police vehicle, he drew his
weapon on the defendant.
2. The Search of the Defendant's Car After the defendant was handcuffed, S/A Rehg, who had moved to
the scene as the arrest was occurring from his position a half a
block away, approached the Firebird and observed the individual
lying on the ground. He recognized him as Daryl Wilson because he
had met Wilson previously. As he approached the Firebird he saw a
white plastic bag on the back seat on the passenger's side of the
vehicle with at clear plastic bag inside in which he could see
powder residue which he believed was cocaine. S/A Rehg testified
that he believed it to be cocaine because the powder was packaged
in the type of bag used for cocaine, and was approximately the
size of one half kilogram of cocaine, the size of the delivery
they were expecting. He seized the cocaine which was eventually
sent to a lab for analysis. Wilson's car was driven to the
underground garage of the U.S. Courthouse by a deputy marshal. It
was hoped that Wilson would agree to cooperate, and therefore,
his car was placed out of public view.
S/A Weeks testified that once they arrived at the car, S/A Rehg
went to the passenger's side of the back seat of the car as Weeks
was clearing the driver's side, searching for weapons and drugs.
S/A Rehg then directed Week's attention to the bag on the back
seat of the car.
3. Questioning of Wilson at the Courthouse and at DEA Offices.
Once the defendant arrived at the Courthouse, he was taken into
the Marshal's area and S/A Rehg read him his Miranda warnings
and asked the defendant if he would cooperate. S/A Weeks was
present when S/A Rehg read the defendant his Miranda rights at
the Courthouse. S/A Rehg and Weeks both testified that the
defendant was then asked if he wanted to cooperate in the drug
investigation. The defendant agreed to cooperate, and, according
to S/A Rehg, was acting very "mild-mannered." The defendant was
then released, given the keys to his car, and allowed to drive
his car to the Fairview Heights DEA office, because the
Courthouse would be closing soon. Wilson agreed to follow them to
the DEA office and was told by S/A Rehg that if he changed his
mind and drove off in another direction, they would "catch up"
with him later. The defendant followed S/A Rehg to the DEA
offices where he was again given his Miranda warnings and was
asked to sign a waiver form. The defendant refused to sign
anything, but agreed to speak with them. He gave a fairly lengthy
interview concerning narcotics trafficking. As part of that interview, he stated that he had been in East St.
Louis to deliver some cocaine.
The defendant asserts that the stop of the defendant was
improper because he was not sufficiently identified by Manfred
McGee. In addition, the vehicle description was not consistent
and there was no real evidence that the defendant attempted to
flee, but rather that perhaps his foot slipped off the break
causing the car to lurch forward.
1. Reasonableness of the Investigatory Stop
It is well settled in the Seventh Circuit that police can
conduct a Terry stop, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21 (1968), if
they have reasonable suspicion, supported by articulable facts,
that criminal activity is occurring. United States v. Swift,
220 F.3d 502, 506 (7th Cir. 2000). Reasonable suspicion
amounts to something less than probable cause but more than a
hunch. Id. The officer's decision to make the Terry stop must
have been justified at its inception, and the stop must have been
reasonably related in scope to the circumstances known to the
officer at the time of the stop. United States v. Quinn,
83 F.3d 917, 921 (7th Cir. 1996). These circumstances might
include the behavior and characteristics of the person detained,
as well as the experience of the officer. United States v.
Odum, 72 F.3d 1279, 1284 (7th Cir. 1995). A determination of
reasonable suspicion "must be based on common-sensical judgments
and inferences about human behavior." Illinois v. Wardlow,
528 U.S. 119, 125 (2000). This determination is made based on the
"totality of the circumstances presented to the officer at the
time of the detention." United States v. Askew, 403 F.3d 496,
507 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Scheets.
188 F.3d 829, 837 (7th Cir. 1999)).
Here, there was more than enough information known to the law
enforcement personnel to warrant the approach of the defendant's
car by Deputy Woods for an investigatory Terry stop. S/A Rehg
received information that a black male driving a black car would
be making a delivery of drugs at the Mobil Station. The
defendant, a black male, arrived in a black Firebird, parked near
the Mobil Station pulling into the parking space backwards, which
put him in position to observe the Mobil Station. As the Seventh
Circuit has stated, "a pattern of behavior interpreted by the untrained observer as innocent may justify a valid
investigatory stop when viewed collectively by experienced drug
enforcement agents." United States v. Lechuga, 925 F. 2d 1035,
1039 (7th Cir. 1991) (quoted in Askew, 403 F.3d at 508).
2. Degree of Intrusion
Having determined, therefore, that the stop of the defendant
was reasonable under Terry, the court must determine whether
the manner of the stop car blocked, guns draw was "reasonably
related in scope to the circumstances which justified the
interference in the first place." United States v. Vega,
72 F.3d 507, 515 (7th Cir. 1995) (quoted in Askew,
403 F.3d at 508). As the court found in Askew, id., "Drug arrests can
warrant intrusive tactics because of their inherent danger. `Guns
are among the tools of the drug trade,' United States v.
Rhodes, 229 F.3d 659, 661 (7th Cir. 2000), and thus
`[a]llowing police to draw their weapons may be
reasonable. . . .'" (quoting United States v. Tilmon,
19 F.3d 1221, 1227 (7th Cir. 1994).)
Here the defendant was believed to be delivering a substantial
amount of cocaine in East St. Louis in the middle of the day near
a gas station. Moreover, drug dealers are known to use and carry
weapons as part of the tools of their trade. In addition, the
fact that the defendant's car lurched away as Deputy Woods
approached, and nearly hit the car driven by Hill, gave those
officers, apparently the only two who drew weapons, reason to do
so. The Court finds, therefore, that the degree of intrusion as
part of the Terry stop was appropriate under the totality of
3. Seizure of Evidence
The defendant asserts that the seizure of evidence from his car
was also in violation of his Constitutional rights. It is well
settled in the Seventh Circuit that "the plain-view doctrine, . . .
allows for seizure of material if (1) a law-enforcement officer
is lawfully present, (2) an item . . . is in the plain view of
the officer, and (3) the incriminating nature of the item is
immediately apparent (i.e., the government can show probable
cause to believe the item is linked to criminal activity)."
United States v. Raney, 342 F.3d 551, 558-59 (7th Cir.
2003) (citing United States v. Bruce, 109 F.3d 323, 328-29
(7th Cir. 1997)). Here, S/A Rehg testified that he saw a
plastic bag sitting on the back seat as he came up to the vehicle. Clearly,
law enforcement was lawfully present in the parking lot, and the
incriminating nature of the item was evident to Rehg, as it was
packaged in the type of bag used for cocaine and was the size of
The Court, therefore, FINDS that the evidence was in plain
view of S/A Rehg and was properly seized.
4. The Questioning of the Defendant.
The Court finds credible the testimony of S/A Rehg and Weeks
that the defendant was given his Miranda warnings both at the
Courthouse, when he was asked to cooperate, and at the DEA
offices where he gave his statement. There is no evidence to the
contrary. The defendant's refusal to sign the Miranda waiver
does not invalidate his waiver. It is well settled that a Miranda
waiver need not be express, and may be "inferred from a
defendant's understanding of [his] rights coupled with a course
of conduct reflecting [his] desire to give up [his] right to
remain silent." United States v. Smith, 218 F.3d 777, 781
(7th Cir. 2000) (quoting North Carolina v. Butler,
441 U.S. 369, 373-76(1979)). Further a "waiver may be inferred from the
defendant's conduct, even when [he] has refused to sign a waiver
form." 218 F.3d at 781 (citing United States v. Banks,
78 F.3d 1190, 1196-98 (7th Cir. 1996), vacated on other grounds,
519 U.S. 990(1996), on remand, United States v. Mills, 122 F.3d 346
Accordingly, the Court FINDS that the defendant's
constitutional rights were not violated and the motion and
amended motion to suppress evidence and statements are DENIED
on all grounds.
IT IS SO ORDERED.