United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN United States District Court Judge
Ladell Smith, a convicted felon, was charged by indictment
with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more
of cocaine on February 21, 2013 in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1), possession with intent to distribute 500
grams or more of cocaine and 100 grams or more of heroin on
February 22, 2013 in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1),
and possession of a firearm on February 22, 2013 in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) and § 922(g). The
evidence underlying the February 22, 2013 charges was
discovered during the execution of a search warrant by
Chicago police officers on February 22, 2013, and has been
the subject of two prior motions to suppress. Probable cause
for that warrant, which was issued on February 18, 2013, was
based on the testimony of a confidential informant.
Independently, on February 21, 2013 officers engaged in a
joint DEA/CPD investigation which had intercepted
communications linking Smith to an attempted drug transaction
and had observed him participating in the transaction. The
evidence against Smith discovered as a result of that
investigation supports Count I, which alleges Smith's
possession of 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute
it on February 21, 2013. Smith, proceeding pro se, moves this
Court to suppress the wiretap communications underlying Count
I pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2518(10)(a). Smith also moves
this Court to suppress the results of the February 22nd
search that underlie the remaining counts based on his
allegation that the timing of that search resulted from
information obtained from the wiretaps. For the reasons set
forth herein, Smith's motion  is denied.
wiretap investigation implicated in this case began as an
investigation into the Imperial Insane Vice Lords street gang
with the interception of gang-leader Nathaniel Hoskins'
phone. During that investigation, the Vice Lords'
suppliers were identified and the investigation was
subsequently expanded to target their activities. The phase
of that investigation which relates to Smith's case
focused on the supplier organization led by Michael Whiting.
phone was not directly intercepted during the investigation
into Whiting. Instead, Smith was recorded on an intercepted
call with Target Phone 38, which was owned by Charles James.
That call establishes that Smith's telephone number was
(773) 420-8206. Smith was also recorded speaking in the
background during an intercepted call between James and
Jameson Hamlin (Target Phone 41). The government also intends
to introduce at trial intercepted calls between Jameson
Hamlin, Charles James, and Malcolm Harris arranging the
February 21 drug transaction. These intercepted calls
constitute circumstantial evidence that Smith was involved in
that transaction based on pen register records showing that
on multiple occasions James called Smith immediately after
stating, in intercepted calls, that he was going to contact
his supplier. Additionally, the government seeks to introduce
testimony that officers identified Smith with James, Hamlin,
and Harris that night.
initial matter, this Court notes that Smith lacks standing to
challenge wiretap orders that did not result in the
interception of communications to which he was a party.
See United States v. Thompson, 944 F.2d 1331, 1339
(7th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, Smith may only seek to suppress
the intercepted conversation involving Target Phone 38 and
Target Phone 41.
brings this motion under 18 U.S.C. § 2518(10)(a), which
permits a defendant to move to suppress the contents of any
wire or oral communication intercepted under that chapter, or
any derivative evidence, on the grounds that:
(i) the communication was unlawfully intercepted;
(ii) the order of authorization or approval under which it
was intercepted is insufficient on its face; or
(iii) the interception was not made in conformity with the
order of authorization or approval.
order for a judge to enter an ex parte order authorizing or
approving interception of wire, oral, or electronic
communications within the territorial jurisdiction of the
court in which the judge is sitting, the judge must determine
from the facts submitted by the applicant that:
(a) there is probable cause for the belief that an individual
is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a
particular offense enumerated in section 2516 of this
(b) there is probable cause for belief that particular
communications concerning that offense will be obtained