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United States v. Douglas

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

January 8, 2020

RYAN DOUGLAS, Defendant.



         This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins (d/e 23) entered on September 11, 2019 relating to a Motion to Suppress Evidence (d/e 20) filed by Defendant Ryan Douglas. Defendant filed Objections to the Report and Recommendation (d/e 24). The Government did not file a response to the Objection.

         In the Report and Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge recommends that this Court deny Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence. For the reasons set forth below, the Court OVERRULES Defendant's Objections (d/e 24) and ACCEPTS and ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (d/e 23) to deny Defendant's Motion to Suppress (d/e 20).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court adopts Judge Schanzle-Hankins' Statement of Facts with additional facts noted below by citation.

         To summarize, law enforcement launched an investigation against Ryan Douglas in 2018, which included obtaining and executing two search warrants. The first search warrant authorized the search of a residence located at 1726 N. 16th Street, Quincy, Illinois (“Residence Warrant”). In pertinent part, the affidavit supporting the Residence Warrant provided that the West Central Illinois Task Force began receiving information in reference to Ryan Douglas selling methamphetamine and cocaine in the Quincy, Adams County area. See d/e 20-1 p. 2 of 3. Defendant commonly drove a black BMW, which was registered to his girlfriend, Amanda Nieders. See id. In February 2018, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of one gram of cocaine at 934 Payson Street, Quincy, Illinois. The confidential source told law enforcement that during the purchase, the seller (identified as “target” in the affidavit) used a phone to contact the source of supply, and the phone number the seller called was 217-305-3830. The confidential source stated that the source of supply arrived in the black BMW. During the controlled purchase, law enforcement observed a black BMW with an Illinois license plate number AB86683 arrive at the location of the purchase. See id.

         Again in February, law enforcement made a controlled purchase of methamphetamine near 17th and Locust. A black BMW arrived and parked next to the confidential source, and the dealer (again referred to as “target” in the affidavit) got out of the confidential source's car and into the black BMW. The dealer returned to the confidential source's vehicle after a short time. The confidential source believed the driver of the black BMW was Ryan Douglas.

         Of importance is Paragraph 6 of the affidavit to the Residential Warrant. It provides in full:

6. Within the last 72 hours LE conducted a controlled purchase from Ryan Douglas. The confidential source was searched and no contraband was located. The CS was then provided $500 USC OAF along with a covert recording device. The CS placed a phone call to Douglas at phone number 217-305-3830. Douglas advised he was leaving the store and would be at the predetermined meeting location shortly. Approximately 10 minutes later Inspector Hiland observed the black BMW pull into the driveway of 1726 N. 16th. Inspector Hiland observed Douglas take several items into the house. Douglas then got back into the black BMW and proceeded to the predetermined meeting location. Once there the CS stated Douglas met with several people. The CS then got into Douglas' vehicle. The CS provided Douglas with the $500 USC OAF and Douglas provided the CS with a knotted baggie of crystal substance. Douglas then left the area. LE conducted surveillance and observed Douglas travel directly back to 1726 N. 16th. Inspector Hiland then observed Douglas go inside the residence. Officer Bemis and I then picked the CS up and took them to the WCITF office. The CS was searched again and no contraband was located.

See id., p. 3 of 3. The affidavit for the Residence Warrant went on to provide that the crystal substance purchased from Defendant weighed greater than 5 grams and tested positive for methamphetamine and listed the serial numbers for the United States Currency Official Advance Funds. See id. Additionally, the affidavit provided that Defendant “has a conviction for delivery of cocaine in Case No. 10CF433 and a delivery of controlled substance in 09CF65, ” and the confidential source “has a felony conviction and their criminal history was supplied to the Judge at the time of signing” the warrant. See id.

         The signing judge issued the Residence Warrant at 9:41 p.m. on April 17, 2018. See id., p. 1 of 3.

         The next morning, a search warrant for Defendant's cell phone (“Cell Phone Warrant') was presented to a different judge from Adams County, Illinois. The search warrant was for the cell phone of Ryan R. Douglas, being an iPhone S, model number A1688, with a black rubber case, to seize “all data on the device and removable media . . .” which have been used in the commission of, or which constitute evidence of, the offenses of delivery of methamphetamine. See d/e 20-2, p. 1 of 3.

         The Cell Phone Warrant contained the same Paragraph 6 as noted above with only one slight variation, which stated “law enforcement” instead of abbreviating it as “LE” in the first sentence. The warrant also provides that on April 18, 2018, law enforcement conducted surveillance on 1726 N. 16th, and officers observed Defendant leaving in the black BMW. See id., p. 2 of 3. Soon after, officers conducted a traffic stop of the black BMW. See id., p. 3 of 3. While the traffic stop was being conducted, officers executed a search warrant at 1726 N. 16th, where law enforcement found $7, 500 with some of it being official advanced funds, plastic baggies, digital scales, and inositol powder. See id.

         Thereafter, Defendant was placed under arrest and his vehicle was seized. See id. During the traffic stop, Defendant's cell phone was located. The warrant requested a search of the cell phone from 01/01/18 to the present. The Cell Phone warrant was issued at 10:43 a.m. on April 18, 2018. See id., p. 1 of 3.

         On November 6, 2019, Defendant was indicted by a grand jury for one count of knowingly and intentionally delivering 5 grams or more of methamphetamine (actual), a Schedule II controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). See Superseding Indictment, d/e 26.

         Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress arguing that both search warrants lacked probable cause, and, therefore, the items and information seized during the searches should be suppressed. See d/e 20. Said motion is the subject of Judge Schanzle-Haskins' Report and Recommendation at issue here. Defendant argues that the Residence Warrant lacked probable cause because the affidavit did not make a connection between Defendant and the residence. Defendant also argues that the affidavit to the Cell Phone Warrant did not support the inference that the phone ...

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