United States District Court, D. Arizona
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Honorable Bruce G. Macdonald, United States Magistrate Judge
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.
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).
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
The I-19 Checkpoint
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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