United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS EVIDENCE STEMMING FROM SEARCH WARRANT (ECF
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 15, 2016, a grand jury indicted Defendant Ashanti
Walton on a number of firearm and drug offenses. The charges
rest in large part upon evidence that law enforcement
officers seized when they searched a residence located in
Inkster, Michigan. Officers conducted that search pursuant to
a warrant issued by a state-court judge.
now moves to suppress the evidence seized during the search
on the ground that the affidavit submitted in support of the
warrant (1) contained false statements and (2) omitted
important facts. (See ECF #14.) Walton contends that
suppression is warranted under Franks v. Delaware,
438 U.S. 154 (1978), because the officer-affiant made the
misstatements and omissions with reckless disregard for the
truth and because the affidavit, when modified to remove the
mis-stated facts and to include the omitted facts, is
insufficient to establish probable cause to search the
residence. (See id.)
Court declines to suppress the evidence. As explained below,
even if the affidavit were modified pursuant to
Franks, the affidavit would still establish that on
the same day that the officer-affiant sought the warrant, a
person exited the residence, engaged in a drug transaction in
the driveway, and re-entered the residence. Under controlling
Sixth Circuit precedent, those facts alone are enough to
establish probable cause to search the residence. See
United States v. Ellison, 632 F.3d 347 (6th Cir. 2011).
Accordingly, Walton's Motion to Suppress is
October 17, 2016, Detective Carl Mack of the Western Wayne
Narcotics Team (the “WWNT”) received a tip from a
paid confidential informant that two black males were driving
around the City of Inkster in a burgundy Ford Explorer
attempting to sell crack cocaine. (See 6/20/2017
Hearing Tr., ECF #21 at Pg. ID 158.) Detective Mack relayed
the tip to Detective Brian Zinser. (See id.)
that afternoon, Detective Zinser located the Ford Explorer
parked in the driveway of a home located at 26842 Hopkins
Street in the City of Inkster (the “Hopkins
Residence”). (See 9/12/2017 Hearing Tr., ECF
#22 at Pg. ID 283-84, 286-87.) Detective Zinser then began
conducting surveillance of the residence. (See id.
at Pg. ID 287.) Detective Zinser observed a maroon Ford
pick-up truck pull into the driveway of the Hopkins
Residence, and he saw a person walk from the residence to the
driver's side of the truck. (See Id. at Pg. ID
291-292.) The person spent about thirty seconds at the side
of the truck and then returned to the house, and the truck
drove away. (See id.) Detective Zinser could not see
the interaction between the person from the house and the
driver of the truck because Zinser was positioned on the
opposite side of the truck. (See Id. at Pg. ID
293-94.) But based upon his experience, he suspected that the
two individuals engaged in a drug transaction.
Sergeant Paul Calleja, who was also involved in the
investigation arising out of the tip, then directed Michigan
State Trooper Robe to stop the maroon truck, and Trooper Robe
did so. (See Id. at Pg. ID 331.) Officers from the
WWNT joined State Trooper Robe during the stop. (See
Id. at Pg. ID 331-32.)
driver of the truck initially denied any wrongdoing, but then
admitted that he had crack cocaine in the truck's center
console. (See Id. at Pg. ID 333.) Officers
thereafter retrieved a baggie from the console, tested its
contents, and verified that the baggie contained cocaine.
(See Id. at Pg. ID 334.) The officers then arrested
the driver and took him to a police station. (See
Id. at Pg. ID 335-36.) During a post-Miranda
interview, the driver admitted that he had purchased $100 of
crack cocaine at the Hopkins Residence earlier in the day.
(See Id. at Pg. ID 305.) The driver added that on
four prior occasions, he had purchased crack cocaine at the
Hopkins Residence from a man named Russ who lived there.
(See Id. at Pg. ID 304.)
that day, Detective Mack asked Judge Mark Somers of the 19th
District Court for the State of Michigan to issue a search
warrant for the Hopkins Residence. In support of the warrant
request, Detective Mack submitted an affidavit (the
“Mack Affidavit”) in which he stated, among other
6) On 10/17/2016, [the Confidential Informant] contacted your
Affiant advising that on today's date a burgundy Ford
Explorer bearing MI Reg: 3LSZ82 driving around the City of
Inkster occupied by two black males in their 30's.
a. Further, [the Confidential Informant] stated that the
occupants offered a quantity of crack cocaine to the
[Confidential Informant] and showed him/her a bag which
contained what the [Confidential Informant] believed to be
b. Further your Affiant completed a license plate query on MI
Reg:3LSZ82. The query identified the vehicle as being a 2006
Ford Explorer registered to Louise Russell at [the Hopkins
7) On 10/17/2016, at approximately 1630 hours, Detectives
with Western Wayne Narcotics established surveillance at [the
Hopkins Residence]. Upon establishing surveillance Det.
Zinser observed the aforementioned Ford Explorer and a teal
Dodge Charger bearing MI Reg: LULU4 parked in the driveway of
a. Further, Det. Zinser completed a license plate query on MI
Reg: LULU4 which is registered to Ashanti Kamu Walton (DOB:
[Date of Birth Redacted]).
b. Further at approxminatley [sic] 1830 hours Det Zinser
observed a maroon Ford Pick Up Truck Bearing MI Reg: DEE3203
arrive at the residence and an unknown individual exit the
residence and approach the drivers door of the aforementioned
vehicle. A short time after approaching the vehicle, the
individual walked away from the vehicle and entered the
residence. The vehicle then left the area.
i. Based on your Affiants [sic] training and experience, this
type of short term contact is consistant [sic] with the sale
8) On 10/17/2016, at approximately 1815 hours MSP K-9 Officer
Robe initated [sic] a traffic stop on the aforementioned pick
up truck for several traffic violations. D/Sgt. Calleja
arrive on scene shortly after to assist. The driver was
identified as [the Driver] and was the lone occupant.
a. During the course of the investigation, D/Sgt. Calleja
asked [the Driver] were [sic] the crack he had was located
inside the vehicle. [The Driver] stated that the crack was
located in the center console of his vehicle and request to
grab it for officers. [The Driver] was allowed to retrieve
the crack which was located in a white baggie within the
b. [The Driver] was transported to the Canton Police
Department pending further investigation and interview.
c. Further, your Affiant completed a field test of the
suspected crack cocaine. The field test showed a positive
indication for the presence of cocaine.
9) On 10/17/2016, during a post Miranda interview of [the
Driver] conducted by Det. Zinser, [the Driver] stated that on
today's date he purchased $100.00 of crack cocaine from
an unknown individual from [the Hopkins Residence].
a. Further, [the Driver] stated that he has purchased crack
cocaine from an unknown black male whom he only knows as
“Russ” and is approximately 35 years old. [The
Driver] stated that “Russ” resides at [the
Hopkins Residence] and has purchased crack cocaine from him
at the residence the past four times.
b. Further, [the Driver] stated that the black male has also
been seen utilizing the aforementioned Ford Explorer bearing
MI Reg: 3LSZ82.
c. Further, Det. Zinser utilized a MIDRS photograph of
Ashanti Walton and provided it to [the Driver]. [The Driver]
identified Walton as the individual whom he purchased the
crack cocaine from.
10) Your Affiant believes, based on above listed facts, that
there will be illegal narcotics, paraphernalia, packaging
supplies, money, documents, and receipts located at [the
Hopkins Residence], and that this search warrant is essential
for the completion of this investigation.
(Mack Aff., ECF #14-1 at Pg. ID 68-69.)
Somers issued a search warrant for the Hopkins Residence the
same night Detective Mack presented it to him (see
Search Warrant, ECF #14-1 at Pg. ID 75-76), and officers from
the WWNT immediately executed it. During the search, the
officers found drugs, drug paraphernalia, multiple firearms
and other weapons, and body armor. (See Criminal
Compl., ECF #1.)
November 15, 2016, a grand jury indicted Walton on three
offenses: possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine
in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); felon in
possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g); and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug
trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C § 924(c).
(See ECF #8.)
February 6, 2017, Walton filed a motion for a Franks
hearing and to suppress the evidence seized from the Hopkins
Residence (the “Motion to Suppress”).
(See ECF #14.) The Court granted Walton's
request for a Franks hearing. (See ECF
#18.) The Court held an evidentiary hearing on June 20, 2017,
and continued the hearing on September 12, ...