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United States v. Martinez-Camargo

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 26, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Anhely Martinez-Camargo, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Hon. Bruce G. Macdonald, United States Magistrate Judge

         Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Anhely Martinez-Camargo's Motion to Suppress Post-Arrest Statement for Miranda Violation (Doc. 24). The Government has filed its response. Govt.'s Response to Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Post-Arrest Statement (Doc. 27). No reply has been filed. Defendant is charged with one count of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C); one count of knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C); one count of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to import into the United States from the Republic of Mexico 50 kilograms or more of marijuana in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952(a), 960(a)(1), and 960(b)(3); and one count of knowingly and intentionally importing into the United States from the Republic of Mexico 50 kilograms or more of marijuana in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952(a), 960(a)(1), and 960(b)(3). Indictment (Doc. 10) at 1-2. Defendant and Anhely Martinez-Camargo seeks suppression of her statements allegedly obtained in violation of his Miranda[1] rights. See Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Statements as Involuntary (Doc. 39).

         Pursuant to LRCrim. 5.1, this matter came before Magistrate Judge Macdonald for an evidentiary hearing and a report and recommendation. On June 20, 2017, an evidentiary hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Macdonald regarding the motion. Minute Entry 6/20/2017 (Doc. 29). The Magistrate Judge recommends that the District Court, after its independent review, deny Defendant's motion.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         A. The Border Crossing

         On October 13, 2016, at approximately 3:16 p.m., Defendant Anhely Martinez-Camargo entered the United States of America through the Douglas Port of Entry from the Republic of Mexico. Compl. (Doc. 1) at 1. Defendant's vehicle appeared to have abnormally dense tires, and she was referred to secondary inspection. Id. At secondary, Defendant's vehicle was searched and two hundred and two (202) packages of marijuana were discovered. Id. The total weight of the marijuana was 98.40 kilograms. Id.

         B. The Interview

         After Ms. Martinez-Camargo was detained, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Task Force Officer (“TFO”) Jason Littlejohn interviewed her regarding any involvement in the offense. See Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Video Interview of Anhely Martinez-Camargo (Exh. “1”) & Customs [and] Border Protection (“CBP”) Interview of Anhely Martinez-Camargo (Transcript/Translation) 10/13/2016 (Exh. “2”). The interview began at approximately 5:30 p.m. and was recorded. See Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1”; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 13:7-11.

         TFO Littlejohn testified that he has been a CBP officer for a little more than eight (8) years, and has been detailed to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) HSI as a task force officer since March 2015. Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 14:10-17. TFO Littlejohn further testified that he obtained the statement of rights forms from the HSI intranet, and has received training regarding the same. Id. at 13:23-14:20.

         In addition to TFO Littlejohn, HSI Special Agent (“SA”) John Shields and CBP Officer Ricardo Ramirez, Jr. were present during the interview of Ms. Martinez-Camargo. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 1:19-2:5. TFO Littlejohn began the interview by introducing himself and the other officers to Ms. Martinez-Camargo. See Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 1:19-2:5; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) at 35:18-25. TFO Littlejohn explained that CBP Officer Ramirez's role was to act as a Spanish language interpreter, if necessary. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 1:19-3:1; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) at 35:18-25. TFO Littlejohn went on to ask Ms. Martinez-Camargo a series of biographical questions and provided her with water and a blanket. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 3:4-11:23.

         At approximately 5:42 p.m., TFO informed Ms. Martinez-Camargo that he would provide her with her Miranda rights. Id., Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 12:1-13:10. TFO Littlejohn asked Ms. Martinez-Camargo whether she was more comfortable reading the Miranda warnings in English or Spanish. Id., Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 12:1-13:10. Ms. Martinez-Camargo initially selected English. Id., Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 12:1-13:10. TFO Littlejohn instructed Ms. Martinez-Camargo to read each right on the Department of Homeland Security statement of rights form aloud and sign her initials next to the right if she understood it. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 13:3-10. TFO Littlejohn also told Ms. Martinez-Camargo, “If you have any questions along the way, just let me know.” Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 13:3-10; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 32:6-9. Accordingly, Ms. Martinez-Camargo began reading the English version Miranda form. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 13:11-14:4; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 19:15-17. Because she appeared to struggle, TFO Littlejohn suggested that Ms. Martinez-Camargo switch to the Spanish form. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:5-8; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 19:18-21. TFO Littlejohn replaced the English form with a Spanish language version. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:5-8; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 19:22-24. TFO Littlejohn again instructed Ms. Martinez-Camargo to read each right aloud and initial each right if she understood. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:5-8; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 30:25-31:8. TFO Littlejohn testified that he was trained to have the individual being advised of his/her Miranda rights to read the rights themselves aloud. Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 16:20- 17:8, 34:12-25. TFO Littlejohn further explained that this practice helps ensure that individuals are actively, rather than passively, listening to and comprehending those rights. Id. at 34:12- 25.

         Ms. Martinez-Camargo read each right aloud in Spanish. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:9-16:11; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 35:1-3. TFO Littlejohn scanned the form to make sure Ms. Martinez-Camargo read the right correctly as she went along. See Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:9-16:11; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 35:1-3. Ms. Martinez-Camargo read each right without any major errors, and signed her initials next to each right indicating that she understood it. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 14:9-16:11, 29:9-14, 31:9-11, 35:7-11. Each time Ms. Martinez-Camargo read a right-her right to be advised of Miranda warnings; right to remain silent; anything said can be used against you; right to consult an attorney-TFO Littlejohn asked Ms. Martinez-Camargo to confirm that she understood the right. See id. TFO Littlejohn alternated between English and Spanish, and Ms. Martinez-Camargo responded “si” or “yes” as appropriate. See id.; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 21:7-10. TFO Littlejohn testified that his standard practice is to periodically check a defendant's understanding, and his failure to ask Ms. Martinez-Camargo to confirm her understanding after every right that she read was consistent with this practice. Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 31:12-32:5.

         Once Ms. Martinez-Camargo finished reading all of her rights, TFO Littlejohn enquired whether she understood all of her rights. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 24:21-23. Ms. Martinez-Camargo nodded. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 24:24-25:9, 39:22-25. TFO Littlejohn sought to confirm that the Spanish form was better and offered again to allow Ms. Martinez-Camargo to read her rights in English. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 25:10-13. Ms. Martinez-Camargo responded, “Ya pues.” Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 25:14-22, 40:4-6. TFO Littlejohn reiterated that he wanted to be sure that she understood her rights. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:1-10. Ms. Martinez-Camargo again nodded. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 16:13-22. TFO Littlejohn also testified that at no time did Ms. Martinez-Camargo appear to be confused while reading the Spanish language Miranda warnings. Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 32:13-18.

         Accordingly, TFO Littlejohn asked Ms. Martinez-Camargo, “Having your rights in mind, do you wish to speak with us today. Do you want to speak with us?” Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 17:3-4; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:21-27:5, 40:10-41:1. Ms. Martinez-Camargo responded, “Sure.” Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 17:5; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:21-27:5. TFO Littlejohn directed Ms. Martinez-Camargo to read the renunciation of rights statement on the bottom of the Miranda form. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 17:6-12; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:11-13. Ms. Martinez-Camargo read the Spanish translation of the renunciation aloud. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 17:13-18:5; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:21-27:5, 33:14-15. When she finished, TFO Littlejohn asked if she understood everything that she read. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 18:6-8. Ms. Martinez-Camargo indicated that she did, and confirmed that she still wanted to speak with the officers. Hr'g Exh. List 6/20/2017 (Doc. 30), Exh. “1” & Exh. “2” at 18:9; see also Hr'g Tr. 6/20/2017 (Doc. 32) 26:21- 27:5. TFO Littlejohn directed Ms. Martinez-Camargo to sign and complete the Miranda renunciation, which she did. Hr'g ...


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