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United States v. Jenkins

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

May 25, 2017



          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Judge.


         On March 31, 2016, the grand jury returned an Indictment against Defendant Marvin Jenkins, charging him with violations of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, Count I; aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute cocaine, Count II; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), Count III.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence. This matter is fully briefed and an evidentiary hearing was held on May 18, 2017, and oral argument occurred on May 19, 2017. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence.


         On March 1, 2016, the Detroit office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) received information from the DEA office in Chicago that Jorge Duarte was a narcotics broker who facilitated cocaine transactions in Detroit, Michigan. This information was obtained by a Source of Information (“SOI”), who indicated that Duarte travels to Detroit via an Amtrak train, counts narcotics proceeds in a hotel, and when finished, telephones a truck driver and informs the driver to deliver cocaine to the customer. The truck driver then meets with the customer to supply the cocaine. The SOI also provided the DEA with Duarte's cellular telephone number. When shown Duarte's Facebook page by the Chicago DEA agents, the SOI confirmed the photograph on the main page was Duarte. On the “timeline” of Duarte's Facebook page, Duarte “checked-in” at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Southfield, Michigan on February 11, 2016.

         At the evidentiary hearing, Sergeant Dean Caldwell of the Wixom Police Department testified. In March of 2016, Caldwell was assigned as a Task Force Officer assisting the DEA. He testified that once the tip came in from Chicago, the DEA obtained an administrative subpoena to ping Duarte's cellular phone, which allowed the DEA to observe the location of his phone. They watched Duarte's phone follow the Amtrak tracks traveling to Detroit. The agents contacted a liaison with Amtrak and confirmed that Duarte was traveling on the train destined for Detroit.

         Thereafter, the DEA set up surveillance at the Detroit Amtrak station. On March 5, 2016, Duarte was observed arriving at the Amtrak station. Duarte entered a Ford-150 driven by Defendant. The agents ran the plates on the Ford-150 and discovered that the vehicle was a rental. An administrative subpoena was served on the rental car company, and its records revealed that Defendant rented the vehicle on March 1, 2016, with a return date of March 8, 2016.

         The DEA surveillance team followed Defendant's vehicle to a Holiday Inn Express and Suites on Northwestern Highway in Southfield, Michigan. This is the same hotel Duarte “checked in” at on his Facebook page on February 11, 2016. Defendant entered the hotel. The DEA served the hotel with a subpoena and its records revealed that Defendant paid cash to reserve room 230 for March 5, 2016, and March 6, 2016. Defendant remained in the hotel for ten minutes before returning to his vehicle and leaving the property. Thereafter, the DEA set up constant surveillance at the hotel.

         On March 6, 2016, Defendant was observed arriving back at the hotel in the F-150. He removed a black duffle bag with gray accents from the vehicle before entering the hotel room. Defendant remained in the hotel room for twelve minutes before leaving. Before he left the hotel, Defendant stopped at the front desk and paid cash to extend room 230 for an additional night, or until March 7, 2016. While Defendant was in the hotel, the DEA placed a tracking device on his vehicle.

         After the Defendant left the hotel, he was observed meeting with an individual identified as Julian Watkins. The DEA already knew of Watkins, who is a large scale narcotics trafficker in the metro Detroit area. Watkins and Defendant proceeded to Monica Street in Detroit. They parked their vehicles next to each other facing opposite directions. Watkins was then seen walking away from the back side of the F-150 before both vehicles left the location. The vehicles were then observed parked near each other on Pennington Drive in Detroit. Watkins stood near the open passenger door of the F-150. After one minute, Watkins was observed closing the rear passenger door of the Defendant's vehicle. Defendant left the location. The DEA terminated its surveillance at this point because Defendant appeared to be engaged in counter-surveillance techniques.

         Later that day, Defendant was seen arriving at the Holiday Inn. He removed a large, heavy duffle bag from the rear passenger side of the F-150. He wheeled the duffle bag into room 230. Fifteen minutes later, Defendant and Duarte exited the hotel and departed in the F-150. They traveled to a gas station in Southfield and put gas in the truck. Thereafter, they drove to a Travel Centers of America Truck Stop, roughly forty-four miles away, located in Dexter, Michigan. Defendant parked his truck next to a semi-truck parked in the back of the parking lot. The semi-truck had California plates. After approximately fifteen minutes, the F-150 departed the area and returned to the Holiday Inn. Duarte entered the hotel and Defendant left the hotel parking lot. The DEA requested a traffic stop of the F-150.

         At the evidentiary hearing, Sergeant Caldwell testified that the Southfield Police Department's police officers had been briefed on the ongoing narcotics investigation. They were informed of the SOI information and of the DEA observations up to that point. They also had access to the DEA's radio so they could overhear developments in the investigation of Duarte and Defendant.

         Southfield Police Officer Kory Karpinsky also testified at the evidentiary hearing on May 18, 2017. Karpinsky was assigned to road patrol and to assist the DEA on March 6, 2016. He was given a radio so that he could directly communicate with the DEA ...

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