March 28, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 15-cr-2 -
Theresa L. Springmann, Chief Judge.
Easterbrook, Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.
a six-day trial, a jury convicted Larry Norton of conspiring
to distribute and conspiring to possess with intent to
distribute large quantities of heroin and cocaine. The
district court sentenced Norton to a mandatory life term of
imprisonment. Norton now appeals his conviction, challenging
the district court's denial of his motion to suppress
evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop and the
district court's admission at trial of recorded
statements made by a confidential informant. We affirm.
Norton handled cocaine and heroin distribution for a large
drug conspiracy. During the conspiracy, Norton drove to
Chicago, Illinois and Akron, Ohio to move drugs or drug
proceeds. Customers would also pick up drugs at his home in
Fort Wayne, Indiana.
enforcement recruited a member of the conspiracy to record
conversations, and on October 2, 2014, the informant did so.
During that conversation, the informant, Norton, and other
members of the conspiracy sampled their heroin and discussed
following month, the informant told federal drug task force
officers that Norton planned to move $400, 000 of drug
proceeds. The federal officers contacted Indiana State Police
Officer Brad Shultz to plan a stop. They told Shultz to wait
for them to identify the vehicle and make a traffic stop when
they signaled him to do so.
morning of November 7, Norton left his home and proceeded to
the highway. T a s k force officers trailed Norton for about
20 miles. During that time, Special Agent Jeffery Robertson
tried to measure Norton's speed by pacing him. He later
testified that Norton was "close to the speed limit, but
he was, as other cars were around us, he was over the speed
limit. He was in the range of 70 to 75." (R. 121 at 94.)
federal officers identified Norton's vehicle to Officer
Shultz. As Norton crossed into a construction zone, Agent
Robertson told Shultz that Norton was driving 72 mph in a 55
mph construction zone. Agent Robertson then instructed
Officer Shultz to make the stop.
Shultz testified that he used his radar gun to confirm that
Norton was going 72 mph. He also checked Norton's speed
by matching it with his own car's speed. After exiting
the construction zone, Officer Shultz pulled Norton over.
the stop, Norton allowed Officer Shultz to search his car. As
Officer Shultz inspected the vehicle, he found an unusual
wire near the gas pedal and a shell casing. His drug sniffing
dog also signaled to multiple parts of the vehicle. Officer
Shultz did not arrest Norton, but he did impound the vehicle.
And after obtaining a search warrant, law enforcement
conducted a more thorough search, discovering $400, 000 in
later, law enforcement arrested Norton inside a house located
a few miles north of the Mexican border. During the arrest,
authorities also found a heat sealer, Norton's wallet,
and $179, 000 in cash inside the home. Norton was indicted on
one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with ...