United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
October 19, 2017, the grand jury returned an Indictment
against Defendant Lucian Myles for possession with intent to
distribute codeine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1), possession of a stolen firearm in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(j), and possession of firearms in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 924(c).
before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Suppress
Evidence, filed on February 19, 2018. In his present motion,
Defendant argues that the Government failed to establish
probable cause to search an apartment and car because there
was no nexus between the purported criminal activity and the
locations to be searched. Defendant further asserts that
probable cause was lacking because the information in the
warrant's affidavit was stale. Lastly, Defendant
maintains that the Government lacked a good faith belief that
the warrant was reasonable.
Government filed a Response in Opposition on March 12, 2018.
Defendant did not file a Reply in support of his Motion to
Suppress. A hearing was held on April 18, 2018. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Defendant's
Motion to Suppress.
16, 2017, a state court judge issued a search warrant for a
Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Defendant and for 3320
Spinnaker Lane, Apt. 6A, the apartment where Defendant and
his girlfriend, Talena Cooper, resided. The Jeep was leased
by J.S. Shelton, Cooper's uncle, and operated by the
Defendant. The warrant was based on the affidavit of DEA Task
Force Officer Brian Tillman, who had been investigating a
suspected money laundering organization since January of
property to be searched for and seized was described in the
affidavit as follows:
Any and all records (electronic or otherwise) tending to show
the distribution of controlled substances or the
accumulation, storage and laundering of drug proceeds in
violation of State of Michigan law. To include all drug
paraphernalia (i.e. diluents, packaging) and equipment (i.e.
scales, presses) used in the manufacturing/handling of
controlled substances, lists and records pertaining to the
manufacture, possession, ownership and/or sales of controlled
substances, lists and records of possession and/or ownership
and/or residency of the above places to be searched, guns and
ammunition, currency and coins, money counters, cell phones
and/or smart phones, computer devices, police monitoring
equipment, and other items which are proceeds or items which
were purchased with the proceeds of the sale of controlled
substances and/or money laundering activities. Also to be
seized are business, tax, travel, automobile and/or financial
records. Any and all records tending to identify
co-conspirators and the nature/scope of a drug conspiracy.
affidavit supporting the search warrant, Tillman explained
that his investigation revealed that automobiles were
fraudulently obtained and likely provided to individuals
engaged in narcotics trafficking. The parties involved would
fail to make payments on the vehicle to the legitimate lien
holder and individuals associated with the drug trade would
use the vehicles until they were seized by authorities or
repossessed by the lien holder. One of the individuals
involved in this scheme was Cooper, who ultimately led
investigators to Defendant.
March 3, 2017, the DEA learned that Cooper was driving a
white Chevrolet Malibu that had been reported stolen by a
local dealership. Cooper was arrested for driving on a
suspended license and possession of a stolen vehicle. During
questioning, Cooper indicated that her boyfriend, Defendant
Myles, had obtained the car through a “scam” and
that Defendant sometimes stayed at his friend's place in
the Harbor Town Apartments.
April of 2017, a search warrant was executed to help
determine the relationship of those involved in the auto
fraud conspiracy. CS1 was the initial target of the search
warrant, and he agreed to cooperate with the DEA in the hope
that he would receive a reduced sentence on any potential
criminal charges. CS1 identified Defendant as a large scale
drug trafficker residing in the Harbor Town Apartments. He
provided Defendant's cellular telephone number to
investigators. CS1 indicated that Defendant drove a Cadillac
Escalade which had a hidden compartment in the center
console. CS1 stated that Defendant hid a firearm and a large
amount of money in the secret compartment. CS1 also informed
investigators that Defendant is associated with numerous
persons involved with laundering money, as well as selling
oxycodone and codeine syrup in Ohio and Kentucky.
subsequently obtained utility records associated with Cooper
and discovered that Cooper recently moved to a new apartment
in the Harbor Town Apartment complex, located at 3320
Spinnaker Lane, Apt. 6A, Detroit, Michigan. Tillman opined
that Cooper was serving as the renter nominee for Defendant,
however the affidavit is silent as to the basis supporting
this conclusion other than that in Tillman's training and
experience, he has known drug traffickers to employ nominees
for their residence and utilities.
of 2017, Tillman visited an Instagram account purportedly
maintained by the Defendant. Tillman observed a photograph of
20 unopened 16 ounce plastic bottles of Promethazine
Hydrochloride and Codeine Phosphate Syrup with gold chains
and a high end men's watch around the bottle. The
Instagram account also contained pictures displaying a large
amount of currency and high end, customized diamond jewelry.
Tillman's review also revealed that the Instagram account
is associated with the same phone number provided by CS1.
Tillman showed one of the pictures to CS1 who indicated that
it was taken at Defendant's and Cooper's former
apartment at the Harbor Town Apartment complex. In the