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United States v. Dennis

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 4, 2017




         This matter is before the Court on Defendant William Andrew Dennis's motion for bond pending trial (Dkt. 18). The issue has been briefed, and the Court held a hearing on March 21, 2017. For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies Dennis's motion for bond.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Dennis has been charged by way of indictment with one count of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Dkt. 12). Under the Bail Reform Act, Dennis is presumed to be both a danger to the community and a flight risk. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3)(A).

         A. Information Proffered by the Government

         In its briefing, and at the hearing, the Government offered the following information, which the Court finds to be credible.

         On December 6, 2016, local law enforcement in Warren, Michigan, obtained a search warrant for Dennis's home, located at 25128 Wagner. Probable cause for the search warrant was based on information received from two confidential sources. Those sources both identified Dennis as a trafficker of heroin and crack cocaine. Probable cause for the warrant was also based on surveillance of Dennis's previous visit to a known drug stash house in Detroit and a search of Dennis's trash, which uncovered evidence of drug possession and trafficking.

         Prior to the execution of the search warrant, Dennis was found in possession of a small amount of crack cocaine, approximately $2, 000 in cash, and two cell phones. Upon entering the home, the officers discovered two more grams of crack cocaine, a digital scale, and a cell phone in the kitchen. A .22 caliber rifle, 23.6 grams of marijuana, and a nine millimeter handgun with an extended magazine and sound suppressor were found in the living room of the home. The officers also discovered a 12 gauge shotgun, four grams of heroin, and a Ferndale Police Department police uniform with sergeant stripes in three bedrooms of the home. Finally, the officers found a .22 caliber round of ammunition in the basement storage closet and a package of .357 caliber bird shot rounds of ammunition in the rafters inside the garage.

         Dennis was originally charged in state court. After the issuance of the federal complaint charging Dennis with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Dkt. 1), investigators returned to the house to place Dennis under arrest. Upon encountering Dennis, the investigators found $6, 400 in cash in a plastic bag in his shorts. A drug-sniffing dog found evidence of drugs on the money. While being transported by the officers, Dennis stated that he only dealt crack cocaine and the firearms that had previously been found in his home belonged to his deceased son and had recently been taken out of storage.

         B. Information Proffered by Dennis

         By way of counsel's brief and argument at the hearing, Dennis contends that he was subrenting a room in the basement of 25128 Wagner from his nephew, Cornelius Dennis. According to Dennis, the firearms found in the home belonged to his deceased son and were recently removed from a storage unit by Cornelius and brought into the home. Dennis maintains that he was unaware of the presence of firearms. Dennis notes that the heroin found in the home was found in a suit jacket, and that this jacket also belonged to his deceased son. Dennis concedes that the cocaine found in the home belonged to him, but he asserted that it was meant only for personal use. Further, Dennis notes that the marijuana found in the home was for his medicinal use.

         Dennis denies that he was engaged in any drug trafficking and claims that his stop at a drug stash house was to resolve a dispute regarding his compensation for construction done at the house. Dennis also contends that the large quantities of cash found on him resulted from his recent sale of a Corvette. Finally, Dennis asserts that he was in possession of the police uniform because it was never picked up from his girlfriend's dry cleaning business.

         II. ANALYSIS

         The district court having original jurisdiction over the matter reviews the magistrate's order of detention de ...

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