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United States v. Dyer

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

May 6, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MAURICE LAMONT DYER, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion to Identify Confidential Informant and Produce for Suppression Hearing (ECF No. 30) ("Motion") by Defendant Maurice Lamont Dyer ("Dyer" or "Defendant"). For the reasons stated below, the Court will DENY Dyer's Motion.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

In 2012, members of the Hanover County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with the Henrico Police Department, began an investigation into the drug trafficking activities of two individuals, later identified as Walter West and Tyrone Nelson. Both West and Nelson have been charged in a heroin trafficking conspiracy, along with Dyer.[2]

Between November 2012 and August 2013, a series of seven separate purchases of heroin were made directly from West by law enforcement utilizing a confidential informant. In August 2013, law enforcement officers learned that, for approximately a seven to eight month period of time leading up to the arrest of Nelson and West, the two had been pooling their money together to purchase heroin for redistribution to their customers. Law enforcement officers subsequently learned that the heroin source of supply was an individual who went by the names "Reese" and/or "Mo" and who dealt directly with Nelson.

On the date of Defendant's arrest, a description of the individual known as "Reese" or "Mo" was provided to law enforcement by a cooperating witness ("CI"). The CI also provided a description of the vehicles the supplier drove and the area where the supplier lived. An agent, who was familiar with Dyer, thought that the description that had been provided by the CI regarding the source of supply may in fact be Dyer. A picture of Dyer was obtained and shown to the CI with all identifiers removed. The CI confirmed that the person in the picture was in fact the heroin source of supply.

On August 22, 2013, a series of telephone calls were placed to Dyer. At the time, Dyer's phone number was listed in the CI's telephone under the name "Re." Prior to placing the recorded telephone call, the CI advised that he was comfortable ordering three ounces of heroin at one time from Dyer. The CI then contacted Dyer and left a message on Dyer's telephone. Dyer returned the call shortly thereafter and the two had a conversation in which the CI informed Dyer that he was looking for "three hours of studio time." (Gov't Opp'n Mot. to Suppress 2). The CI explained that he and Dyer used coded language to discuss their drug business and further explained that when he requested "3 hours of studio time" he was in fact ordering three ounces of heroin.[3] Dyer agreed to deliver the "studio time" to a predetermined location.

While arrangements were being made to purchase heroin from Dyer, law enforcement officers simultaneously set up surveillance units in the vicinity of Dyer's residence, identified as 8032 Arbor Glen Place, Henrico, Virginia ("Home"). After the order was placed, Dyer was observed driving to the Home in a black Lincoln SUV bearing West Virginia license plates. Dyer entered and exited the Home and then opened the back of a white van. He then got back into the black SUV, where he sat for a few minutes before returning briefly to the white van. Eventually, Dyer got back into the Lincoln SUV, pulled out of the driveway, and drove away from his Home. Dyer traveled directly to the predetermined meeting location to meet the CI.

A. Automobile Stop, Search, and Seizure at Pine Lake Drive

Henrico County Police surveillance units followed Dyer both in the air and on the ground. They watched him as he drove directly to the meeting location-Pine Lake Drive. Upon arriving at the location, Dyer was positively identified by the CI as the heroin supplier he had called earlier. Law enforcement officers approached Dyer's vehicle and detained Dyer ("Pine Lake Drive Stop"). Hanover Sherriff's Investigator Stem searched the driver's compartment of Dyer's Lincoln SUV, where he recovered a Chipotle Restaurant napkin secured with a rubber band. Inside the napkin was a plastic Ziploc bag with approximately three ounces of suspected heroin inside it. Dyer was arrested and, in a search incident to arrest, law enforcement officers recovered $26, 889 in United States currency. Dyer was brought to the police department, where he was read his rights pursuant to Miranda by Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Officer Keith Parknow. Dyer stated that he understood his rights and agreed to speak with law enforcement. Dyer stated that he had gone to the location where he had been arrested to discuss the music business. Dyer advised that he is a promoter and that his co-defendant, Tyrone Nelson, is a rap artist.

B. The Search Warrant for Dyer's Home

After Dyer was arrested, members of the Henrico County Police Department drafted an affidavit in support of a search warrant for the Home. The search warrant requested authorization for law enforcement to search the Home, the curtilage, and any and all vehicles and outbuildings on the property. During the time that law enforcement officers were preparing the search warrant, surveillance units were stationed in front of Dyer's Home.

The Hanover Sheriff's Office, with assistance from members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted in executing the search warrant. During the search, large quantities of United States currency were found throughout the Home: $49, 775 was found hidden in the closet in the master bedroom; $19, 975 was found wrapped in a plastic bag and hidden inside a hamper in the master bedroom; $15, 000 was found in another plastic bag in the hamper; $14, 800 was found in the pocket of a pair of jeans located inside a box in the closet; and $23, 000 was found in a 2013 Jaguar XJL, with $5, 000 of that money in the center console, and $18, 000 was found in the trunk tire well wrapped in a red plastic bag.

Investigator Stem called Officer Parknow, who was still speaking with Dyer. He asked for the combination to a safe that was found hidden in the attic. Dyer stated that he had forgotten about the safe and did not know the combination. When asked if there was anything inside the safe, Dyer stated that he had money in it. Dyer ultimately remembered the combination, and $165, 170 in United States currency was recovered. A handgun was also recovered from the master bedroom closet among Dyer's clothing and bags of money. ...


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