Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 2, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Iris Rodriguez Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Honorable Bruce G. Macdonald, United States Magistrate Judge

         Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Iris Rodriguez's Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. 29). The Government has filed its Response (Doc. 37), and no reply was filed.

         Defendant is charged with one count of knowingly and intentionally combining, conspiring, confederating and agreeing together and with other persons known and unknown to possess with intent to distribute five (5) grams or more of methamphetamine, or fifty (50) grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine (approximately 140 grams of methamphetamine), a Schedule II controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii), and with one count of knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute five (5) grams or more of methamphetamine, or fifty (50) grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine (approximately 140 grams of methamphetamine), a Schedule II controlled substance; in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii). Indictment (Doc. 8).

         Pursuant to LRCrim. 5.1, this matter came before Magistrate Judge Macdonald for an evidentiary hearing and a report and recommendation. An evidentiary hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Macdonald on May 1, 2018. Minute Entry 5/1/2018 (Doc. 38). On May 8, 2018, the Court received the final transcript, and the motion is now ripe for adjudication. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the District Court, after its independent review, deny Defendant's motion.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         A. The I-19 Checkpoint

         Border Patrol Agent Vanessa Salcedo described the I-19 Border Patrol Checkpoint in Amado, Arizona. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 7:7-11:15. Agent Salcedo has worked for Border Patrol for three (3) years, and has worked at the I-19 checkpoint in Amado, Arizona for two (2) years. Id. at 6:24-7:1. Agent Salcedo testified that she is stationed at the checkpoint full time, approximately five (5) days per week, or fifty (50) hours per week. Id. at 7:2-6. Agent Salcedo explained the general procedure at the I-19 checkpoint, where vehicles enter the primary inspection area and are initially met by a primary inspection agent. Id. at 8:1-9:1. Agent Salcedo described this initial contact as an immigration inspection, in which the agent conducts a small investigation to determine the citizenship or immigration status of the driver or occupant(s). Id. at 8:18-9:9, 38:5-9. Agent Salcedo testified that there was not a specific script, but that she will sometimes ask for identification. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 9:10-14. Agent Salcedo further testified that there is not a requirement for a specific form of identification, and that the immigration inspection concludes “when the agent is satisfied with the citizenship status of the person they're encountering[.]” Id. at 9:15-10:8. Agent Salcedo explained that, for her, this means that she has performed her due diligence, including running a records check, and if after looking at an individual's identification, she believes that the person is being truthful. Id. at 10:3-8.

         Agent Salcedo also described the general procedure for shuttle buses or vans entering the immigration checkpoint. Id. at 10:9-13:19. Agent Salcedo testified that all shuttle buses and vans are sent to the secondary inspection area. Id. at 10:9-19, 11:6-10. Agent Salcedo explained that this procedure is to provide the agents more time, given the increased number of occupants in those vehicles. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 10:20- 24. Agent Salcedo estimated that fifty (50) shuttle vehicles travel through the checkpoint each day. Id. 10:25-11:4, 11:11-15. Agent Salcedo further testified that subsequent to an immigration check, she has arrested individuals for illegal entry and/or attempting to smuggle narcotics in the United States on their person. Id. at 11:16-12:10. Agent Salcedo testified that when attempting to assess whether someone might be carrying narcotics on their person or entering illigally, she looks for really baggy clothing, and someone who is shying away from her, avoiding eye contact, or moving away. Id. at 12:11-19, 40:1-5, 45:8-15. Conversely, Agent Salcedo also testified that on the opposite end of the spectrum, someone who is super happy, nervous, very loud, talking fast, and “all in [her] face” is also suspicious. Id. at 12:11-19, 45:16-46:1.

         B. The Stop

         On July 28, 2017, at approximately 5:25 p.m., Agent Salcedo was stationed at the I-19 checkpoint, working in the secondary inspection area. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 13:24-14:19. Agent Salcedo testified that a Sonoran shuttle entered the secondary inspection area. Id. at 14:23-15:1. Agent Salcedo did not remember exactly how many agents were in secondary at that time; however, she remembered at least herself and one other agent. Id. at 15:2-6. Agent Salcedo further testified that she recalled less than twelve (12) shuttle passengers. Id. at 15:7-13. Agent Salcedo also testified that she was positioned next to the shuttle, in front of its doors. Id. at 15:25-16:8. Agent Salcedo stated that she likes to be in the front in order to observe who is exiting the shuttle, and for officer safety. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 16:12-16.

         Agent Salcedo testified that a female passenger drew her attention when she exited the shuttle, made eye contact, and then “quickly proceeded to move away[.]” Id. at 16:17-21. Agent Salcedo testified that she found this behavior suspicious, noting that it was one of the indicators that suggests a person may be involved in criminal activity. Id. at 16:22-17:2, 53:8-19. Agent Salcedo also noted that an individual making eye contact and then walking away from her is very unusual. Id. at 52:14-25. Agent Salcedo further testified that she initiated contact with the woman, and identified her as Defendant Iris Rodriguez. Id. at 17:3-16.

         Agent Salcedo testified that she asked Ms. Rodriguez if she was a United States citizen. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 17:18-22. Ms. Rodriguez responded affirmatively, providing Agent Salcedo an Arizona driver's license; however, Agent Salcedo found that the individual pictured on the driver's license did not appear to be Ms. Rodriguez. Id. at 17:13-18:5, 40:24-41:14. Agent Salcedo further testified that she proceeded to ask Ms. Rodriguez for additional identification. Id. at 18:6-7. Ms. Rodriguez then provided Agent Salcedo a United States passport card, but again Agent Salcedo found that the individual pictured did not appear to be Ms. Rodriguez. Id. at 18:8-20:15, 41:19-42:4. Agent Salcedo also testified that aside from the identification pictures not appearing to be Ms. Rodriguez, the pictures did not look like one another either. Id.; see also Govt.'s Exhs. “4” & “5.” Agent Salcedo testified that this discrepancy led her to believe that Ms. Rodriguez was not a United States citizen, and further investigation was required. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 20:16-20. Agent Salcedo denied that Ms. Rodriguez showed her any other identification. Id. at 43:3-20. Agent Salcedo testified that in light of the apparent discrepancy, she ran a records check-meaning that she called her dispatch with Defendant's name and date of birth for a search for any criminal history, citizenship, and whether there are any reports of official identification having been stolen. Id. at 20:21-21:16, 54:6-22.

         While Agent Salcedo was waiting for the results of the records check, she continued to question Defendant. Id. at 21:23-25. Agent Salcedo testified that she asked Ms. Rodriguez where she was from, and where she was coming from. Id. at 22:1-3. Ms. Rodriguez stated that she was from Tucson, and was coming from Nogales, Arizona. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 22:4-6. Agent Salcedo further testified that Ms. Rodriguez stated that her nineteen (19) year old daughter was living with a roommate in Nogales, and that she taken her school shopping. Id. at 22:7-13. Agent Salcedo testified that she found Ms. Rodriguez's answers odd, because she thought it was odd that Ms. Rodriguez was still school shopping for a daughter who had moved out on her own. Id. at 22:23-23:4.

         At some point during Agent Salcedo's questioning, Ms. Rodriguez moved away from the agent to sit down. Id. at 23:13-19. Agent Salcedo testified that Ms. Rodriguez's demeanor seemed a little nervous, and that she appeared excited, very happy, talking loud and fast, and mixing up her words.[1]Id. at 23:20-24:5, 51:25-52:10. Agent Salcedo further testified that based on Ms. Rodriguez's behavior and her training and experience, she suspected that Ms. Rodriguez was involved in criminal activity. Id. at 24:4-15. Specifically, Agent Salcedo believed that Ms. Rodriguez was a body carrier. Hr'g Tr. 5/1/2018 (Doc. 42) at 24:4-15. Based on her suspicions, Agent Salcedo asked Ms. Rodriguez if she would consent to a search of her person. Id. at 24:16-19, 47:15-19. Agent Salcedo testified that Ms. Rodriguez verbally consented to the search. Id. at 24:20-24, 47:23-48:1, 72:12-20. Agent Salcedo further testified that her ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.