United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S AMENDED
MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE [DOC. 19]
CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendant Bobby Lee Calhoun,
Jr.'s motion to suppress evidence discovered and seized
during the search of two residences pursuant to two search
warrants issued in this case. Defendant separately moves to
suppress firearms found in the shed at one of the residences
as obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment's
court heard oral argument on defendant's challenge to the
sufficiency of the affidavits on July 17, 2019. For the
reasons stated in this opinion and order, defendant's
motion to suppress is DENIED.
December 1, 2018, DEA Special Agent Stacy Zirkle submitted
two search warrant applications and affidavits for
“bulk currency, documents, drug and other items
indicative of drug trafficking [including illegal firearms
and weapons] stored and maintained at” two residences
belonging to defendant. Judge Alexis Krot of the 31st
District Court in Wayne County Michigan issued two search
warrants based on the applications and affidavits, one for
the “Sanford Street residence” in Pontiac,
Michigan and one for the “Cornerstone Village
residence” in Southfield, Michigan. Defendant
challenges the sufficiency of the affidavits supporting the
search warrants. The following facts are taken from the
November 2018, DEA and other law enforcement received
information from a source of information (“SOI”)
who identified the defendant and his wife as kilogram
distributors of narcotics throughout the Detroit area.
(Zirkle Aff. ¶ 2). The SOI disclosed that defendant and
his wife live in Southfield, Michigan; that defendant drives
a black Ford F-250 and an SUV; that defendant utilizes a
house in Pontiac, which he calls the “Dog House,
” to hold narcotics for sale; and that defendant and
his wife use the U.S. mail to send and receive money and
narcotics. ¶ 2.
Zirkle described law enforcement efforts to corroborate the
information received from the SOI. Agents reviewed law
enforcement indices and discovered several addresses for
defendant and his wife in Pontiac and Southfield, including
the two target locations. ¶ 3. The SOI identified a
photo of the Sanford Street residence as “The Dog
House.” Id. Agents confirmed that a 2008 Ford
F-250 and a 2017 Kia Sorrento were registered to defendant at
the Sanford Street address. Id.
confirming the information about the locations and vehicles,
agents surveilled the two target residences. On November 14,
2018, agents drove by the Cornerstone Village residence and
saw the Ford F-250 parked in front of the garage. ¶ 4.
On November 15, 2018, agents drove by the Sanford Street
residence and observed that the Kia Sorrento was parked in
the driveway of the residence. ¶ 5. Agents also observed
defendant walking quickly from the house to the sidewalk
where he looked up and down the street. The agents considered
this activity to be significant because they were aware that
a package from the United States Postal Service was scheduled
to arrive that day and they believed defendant was looking
for a mail truck. Id.
November 17, 2018, agents intercepted a package that was sent
from Tucson, Arizona to the Sanford Street residence. A K9
sniff gave a positive indication that narcotics were present
in the package. ¶ 7. On November 19, 2018, Magistrate
Judge Majzoub authorized a search warrant for the package.
The package contained .555 kilograms of cocaine. ¶ 8.
November 27, 2018, agents surveilled the Cornerstone Village
residence and observed the Kia Sorrento parked in front of
the residence. ¶ 9. Thus, the Kia Sorrento was seen at
both target locations.
November 30, 2018, Agent Zirkle “received information
from a Source of Information, who has been deemed credible
and reliable and whose information has led to a seizure of
500 grams of cocaine destined for CALHOUN at [the Sanford
Street residence].” ¶ 11. The SOI said he observed
a live video chat of bulk currency being stored in trash bags
and suitcases at the Cornerstone Village residence.
Id. The callers on the live chat, identified by the
SOI as defendant's twin sons, identified the currency as
drug proceeds from the sale of narcotics by defendant.
Id. According to the SOI, the callers stated they
planned to rob defendant for the money the next morning and
might have to kill defendant in the process. The SOI was
aware defendant's sons had stolen guns from defendant
previously. Id. The SOI stated the stolen guns were
not reported because defendant is a convicted felon.
Id. The SOI stated that only two of the three stolen
firearms were recovered. Id. The SOI was also aware
that defendant stored weapons at the Cornerstone Village
residence and the Sanford Street residence. Id.
Agent Zirkle included general information that she knew about
drug traffickers from her training and experience, including
the fact that drug traffickers often store drugs and drug
proceeds at different locations to thwart law enforcement
efforts from seizing both drugs and drug proceeds. Zirkle
also stated she is aware drug traffickers will travel to
their stash locations with short stays to pick up drugs and
deliver drugs to customers in the immediate vicinity. ¶
makes three challenges to the search warrant affidavits.
First, the SOI did not provide any information of illegal
activity witnessed by him first-hand. Second, the only
information provided by the SOI that was independently
verified by the government was publicly available information
- homes and cars owned by the defendant. Third, the claim in
the affidavit that the SOI's “information led to a
seizure of 500 grams of cocaine destined for CALHOUN at [the
Sanford Street residence], ” is misleading at best. The
package was not addressed to “Calhoun” but to
“Robert Gonzalez” at the Sanford Street
residence, and no one named Robert Gonzalez was known to be
connected with the Sanford Street residence. These facts were
omitted from the affidavit.
evaluate probable cause, courts are instructed “simply
to make a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all
the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before [it] . .
. there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of
a crime will be found in a particular place.”
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). The
facts and circumstances taken as a whole must give the
magistrate probable cause to believe the items sought will be
found during the search. See, id., Zurcher v. Stanford
Daily, 436 U.S. 547, 566 (1978). “[T]he affidavit
supporting the search warrant must demonstrate a nexus
between the evidence sought and the place to be
searched.” United States v. Brown, 801 F.3d
679, 686 (6th Cir. 2015). “Reviewing courts ...