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United States v. Mogros

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 23, 2017




         I. SUMMARY

         Defendant Antonio Mogros (“Mogros”) was charged with three counts related to the possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances after police executed a search warrant on his motel room. (ECF No. 4.) Before the Court is Mogros' Motion to Suppress (“Motion”). (ECF No. 17.) The government filed a response (ECF No. 24) to which Mogros replied (ECF No. 30). The Court held an evidentiary hearing on January 31 and February 3, 2017 (“Hearing”). (ECF Nos. 41, 43.) The Court also allowed the parties to submit post-hearing briefs summarizing their arguments. (ECF Nos. 48, 49.) After the first day of the Hearing, Mogros filed a Motion to Disclose Confidential Informant's File. (ECF No. 42.) The government filed a response to this motion (ECF No. 51) and Mogros filed a reply (ECF No. 52). For the reasons discussed herein, both motions are denied.


         The following facts are taken from the exhibits attached to the briefing relating to the Motion and the evidence presented at the Hearing.

         A. The Tip and Setup

         On August 15, 2016, detectives with the Regional Crime Suppression Unit (“RCSU”) - a multi-agency law enforcement program housed at the Sparks Police Department - arrested Christopher Wilkins. Wilkins, who was wanted for burglary, had been convicted of three other theft-related felonies and admitted to using methamphetamine and heroin daily. (ECF No. 24-1 at 7.) In an effort to help himself, Wilkins told Detective Tindall that his supplier was a short Hispanic man named Antonio. (ECF No. 24-1 at 7.) Detective Tindell, who was familiar with Antonio Mogros, showed Wilkins a picture of Mogros and asked if he was the man to whom Wilkins was referring. (Id.) Wilkins confirmed that Mogros was the man from whom he purchased methamphetamine and heroin over the last few months. Wilkins also informed Detective Tindall that Mogros was staying at the Aloha Inn (“Aloha Inn” or “Motel”) - a motel in Sparks. (Id.) Another RCSU detective called the Aloha Inn and confirmed that Mogros was staying there and was registered to room #334. (Id.)

         Detective Tindall and the other members of the RCSU devised a plan for what they call a “Narcotic Rip.” The plan involved having Wilkins call Mogros to set up a sale while detectives monitored the Aloha Inn. (Id. at 7-8.) Then, before Mogros reached the point where the sale was to take place, he would be stopped and arrested by RCSU.

         After members of RCSU arrived at the Aloha Inn and began observing room #334, Detective Tindall had Wilkins call Mogros and listened in on the call. Mogros answered and Detective Tindall recognized his voice because he had heard Mogros on a number of previous occasions. Mogros agreed to sell Wilkins one ounce of methamphetamine and one ounce of heroin. He told Wilkins to come to his room at the Aloha Inn, which he identified as room #334. (Id. at 8.) Wilkins then ended the call. Detective Tindall informed Wilkins that RCSU wanted to lure Mogros away from the Motel, and had Wilkins call back. After a few calls back and forth, Mogros agreed to meet Wilkins at the Nugget Casino (“the Casino”) in Sparks. (Id.)

         B. Surveillance and Arrest

         Detective Tindall informed the RCSU members who were positioned outside of the Aloha Inn about the deal. (Id.) About ten minutes after the call, the RCSU detectives observed Mogros leave his motel room and walk to a local convenience store. (Id. at 9.) A green Lincoln eventually pulled up to the convenience store, and after talking to the driver and heading back into the store momentarily, Mogros entered the vehicle. The Lincoln drove back to the Aloha Inn and the driver and Mogros exited the car and entered room #334. After several minutes, the two left room #334 and walked back to the Lincoln. (Id.) The Lincoln left the Aloha Inn and headed west on the freeway, in the general direction of the Casino.

         Detective Tindall contacted Detective Bare and requested that he pull over the Lincoln. At this point, Detective Tindall testified that he believed that probable cause existed to arrest Mogros for the drug sale and had planned to arrest Mogros after the vehicle was stopped. Detective Bare ran the vehicle's plates and discovered the registration had been suspended. (ECF No. 42-2 at 3.) He followed the vehicle as it exited the freeway near the Casino, and turned north on Pyramid way, heading away from the Casino. The Lincoln then turned onto another street, and Detective Bare activated his emergency lights. (Id.) The Lincoln sped up momentarily and turned onto another street, before pulling over and stopping quickly. Officer Bare believed this behavior indicated that the occupants were either hiding contraband or preparing to ambush or flee. (Id.) Detective Bare exited his car and approached the Lincoln. He confirmed Mogros was in the passenger seat, drew his firearm, and ordered both Mogros and the driver to exit the vehicle with their hands up. (Id.) Detective Bare handcuffed Mogros and performed a pat down search. While patting down the area around Mogros' groin, Detective Bare felt “packaging material” filled with “a rock like material.” (Id. at 4.) Detective Bare asked Mogros what the object was and Mogros responded “my dick.” (Id.)

         At some point after Detective Bare pulled over the Lincoln, Detective Tindall had arrived on the scene. After discovering the suspected material on Mogros, Detective Bare handed him over, still in cuffs, to Detective Tindall. Detective Bare informed Detective Tindall that he suspected Mogros had a bag of crystal meth in his groin area. (Id.) Detective Tindall did not advise Mogros of his Miranda rights, but said something along the lines of “man up and tell me what it is.” In response, Mogros told Detective Tindall that he had a bag of methamphetamine and a bag of heroin.[1] (Id.) According to Detective Tindall, Mogros then gave him permission to retrieve the drugs. (ECF No. 24-1 at 10.) Detective Tindall unbuttoned Mogros' pants and found three plastic bags in a sleeve in Mogros' boxer-briefs. One bag contained about 29 grams crystal meth, and the other two contained a combined 31 grams of heroin. (ECF No 24-1 at 10.) Detective Tindall also found $1, 395 in the pocket of Mogros' jeans and a piece of paper which Detective Tindall believed to be a “pay/owe sheet” - a record of debts and payments from his contraband sales. (Id.) The detectives decided to call for the vehicle to be towed based on the fact that it was being used in the commission of a felony. (Id. at 11.) They searched the vehicle and found an additional 18.9 grams of methamphetamine and .6 grams of heroin. (Id.) The detectives arrested Mogros and the driver for trafficking, possession for sale, and possession of a controlled substances. (Id.)

         C. ...

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