United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS EVIDENCE (ECF No. 14) ("Def's Mtn. to
Suppress"). Also included in the Defendant's Motion
to Suppress is a request for a Franks hearing. (ECF
No. 14, #7, FN. 2) . For the reasons set forth below, the
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE (ECF No. 14) and
the request for a Franks hearing will be denied.
September 1, 2016, Magistrate Judge Young granted the
Government's APPLICATION FOR A SEARCH WARRANT. (ECF No.
14-1, #53) . The SEARCH AND SEIZURE WARRANT for the 1995 Ford
tractor trailer truck, license plate 26-392, VIN:
1FTYY90V6SVA73472, and a Samsung Galaxy S5, model SM-G900V,
90004 913336164, related to a violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2252A(2)(a), Possession, Receipt and Distribution of Child
Pornography and 18 U.S.C. § 2251, Production of child
pornography. (ECP No. 14-1, #41). In support of its
application, the Government, through Special Agent Melvin
Gonzales, presented an AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION
UNDER RULE 41 FOR A WARRANT TO SEARCH AND SEIZE. (ECF No.
14-1, #54-82)(the "affidavit"). The affidavit's
contents are described below:
Gonzales, a member of the Child Exploitation Task Force,
conducts investigations involving child sex trafficking,
child pornography, and child abductions. Aff. at ¶ 1.
Gonzales stated that he had probable cause to believe that a
1995 Ford Tractor Trailer, license plate 26-392, and a
Samsung Galaxy S5 telephone, model SM-G900V, contained
contraband and evidence of a crime in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2551 (production of child pornography); 18 U.S.C.
§ 2251A (selling or buying of children); 18 U.S.C.
§ 2252 (possession of, knowing access or attempted
access with intent to view, child pornography); 18 U.S.C.
§ 2422 (enticement or coercion of a minor to engage in
illegal sexual activity); and 18 U.S.C § 1591 (sex
tracking of children). Id. at ¶ 2. The
affidavit is based on information provided by FBI Special
Agents, FBI Task Force Agents, other law enforcement agents,
electronic surveillance conducted by law enforcement agents,
and independent investigation conducted by FBI agents as well
as computer forensic professionals. Id. at ¶ 4.
Gonzales explained, "I have not included each and every
fact known to me concerning that investigation. Instead, I
have set forth only the facts that I believe are necessary to
establish the necessary foundation for the requested
Contents of the Affidavit Respecting Haas and Child
affidavit avers that, "[o]n June 16, 2016, members of
the FBI Richmond Child Exploitation Task Force, received
information [ that] . . . Haas . . . was both interested in
and actively producing child pornography." Aff. at
¶ 7. The information was provided by a confidential
witness ("CW"), who was an escort to Haas for a
period of four years.
the FBI that "Haas advised CW that he had a neighbor who
was approximately 12 years old that would come over and
perform oral sex on him." Aff. at ¶ 7, CW reported
that she and Haas stopped seeing each other shortly after
relayed that, in May 2016, she and Haas resumed their
relationship and met at a residence in Chesterfield County,
Virginia. Aff. at ¶ 8.
During this visit, Haas again brought up his interest in
juvenile females. Haas displayed his laptop to CW, which
contained images of juvenile females. CW described the images
as depicting juvenile females between the ages of 5 and 12 in
various stages of undress and engaged in sexually-explicit
acts. CW advised that she was shown between 50 and 100 images
of these girls. Haas advised CW that he knew the victims
because they lived in the neighborhood. While Haas displayed
the images to CW, he masturbated to the photos.
Id. Haas then told CW that he would like her to be
"involved in the production of images and videos of
child pornography with juvenile females and inquired as to
whether CW would be able to help provide these females for
such production." Id.
identified Haas in a photograph provided by FBI agents and
she also provided the agents with Haas's phone number.
"FBI agents cross searched [the number provided by CW]
with law-enforcement databases and were able to determine
that it has been used as a contact number for Haas in
law-enforcement investigations." Aff. at ¶
CW told the agents that Haas drove a light-colored Jetta and
was able to identify a photo of Haas's residence.
meeting on July 21, 2016, CW told FBI agents that she had
numerous telephone conversations with Haas. CW also told the
agents that Haas "constantly discussed the production of
child pornography with CW and requested CW to find an
underage female in order to produce child pornography."
Aff. at ¶ 10.
August 12, 2016 and August 13, 2016, acting under the
authority of the FBI agents, CW recorded two telephone
conversations with Haas. Aff. at ¶ ll. CW relayed that,
"Haas requested CW to coordinate a meeting between him
and an underage female not older than 12 years old."
Id. "Haas also requested nude photos of
underage females in exchange for money." Id.
Contents of the Affidavit Respecting Child Molestation by
August, 18, 2016, FBI agents received a complaint from the
Richmond Police Department, indicating that Haas had sexually
molested an 11-year old female ("CV1") on multiple
occasions." Aff. at ¶ 14. CV1 was forensically
interviewed and provided the following information: CV1 and
her father would go to the Richmond Inn to beg for money.
Haas approached CVl's father and gave him $5. He then
returned a short time later, gave CVl's father $60, and
asked if CV1 could go to his home to babysit. At first,
CVl's father refused; however, when Haas asked if CV1
could provide cleaning services, CVl's father agreed.
Aff. at ¶ 15.
affidavit provides that, "[d]uring the initial visit to
[Haas's] house . . . [a] t some point, [Haas] asked CV1
to come to the living room where he was sitting on the floor
in front of the couch. [Haas] asked CV1 to lie down on the
couch . . . CV1 said that [Haas] pulled her pants down and
pushed her shirt up. CV1 sat up and pulled her pants up and
attempted to exit the room. [Haas] stopped her and told her
to lie back down on the couch." Aff. at ¶
According to CVI, this occurred on at least five separation
August 26, 2016, when CVl's guardian was interviewed by
the FBI, she told agents that CV1 reported that Haas had
given her between $200-$600 every time she had an encounter
with him.The guardian reported that the last time
CVI saw Haas, sometime in late June 2016, "he picked her
up at her brother's residence and sexually abused CVI in
his vehicle." Aff. ¶ 17.
unable to identify Haas from a photograph shown to her by law
enforcement. Aff. ¶ 19. CVl's guardian obtained
Haas's cell phone number from CVl's mother. FBI
agents confirmed that the number reported by the guardian was
registered to Haas. Aff. ¶ 20. FBI agents confirmed that
this number had called the Richmond Inn on numerous
occasions. Additionally, the number was used for 60 test
messages and 100 telephone calls to CVl's mother from May
2016 to July 2016. Aff. ¶ 22.
receiving the foregoing information about CV1, FBI conducted
surveillance on Haas's residence, in North Chesterfield,
Virginia and observed Haas depart the residence in his
C. Execution of Search Warrant and Haas's
obtained a search warrant for Haas's residence on August,
31, 2016 (ECF No. 18-1) (Gov. Exhibit A) . When the FBI tried
to execute the warrant on September 1, 2016, Haas had already
left for work. Aff. ¶ 25. FBI agents then proceeded to
Haas's work location and arrested Haas in his work
vehicle, a 1995 Ford tractor trailer truck. Haas was arrested
pursuant to a Virginia arrest warrant, charging him with
aggravated sexual battery of a minor. Id. During the
search incident to the arrest, the FBI agents recovered a
Samsung Galaxy S5 telephone. During a protective sweep of the
tractor trailer vehicle, an FBI agent noticed a laptop bag.
"After seeing the laptop bag, the agent ceased his
protective sweep and exited the vehicle." Id. A
new affidavit, identical to the first,  was submitted to
the Magistrate Judge in support of a request for a warrant to
search Haas's 1995 Ford tractor trailer. Based on the
affidavit, the Magistrate Judge issued a search warrant to
allow the search of Haas's 1995 tractor trailer and
Haas's cell phone. The laptop was seized from the tractor
trailer. A forensic examination of the laptop seized from the
tractor trailer revealed that Haas had saved approximately
17, 000 images of children, including prepubescent children,
engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Motion to Suppress Hearing
Agent Gonzales ("Gonzales"), the agent responsible
for drafting the affidavit at issue, testified at an
evidentiary hearing on the Motion to Suppress. He provided
testimony about several topics.
History of CW
Gonzales testified that before the case, he did not
personally know CW, but he knew that she had served as a
confidential witness for the FBI in the Norfolk Division.
(ECF No. 26, #230) . After CW reported to the FBI that she
had seen Haas viewing child pornography on his computer in
May 2016, Gonzales corroborated Haas's identity, his
address, and his date of birth. Gonzales also obtained
Haas's telephone records which "indicated hundreds
of calls between them [Haas and CW] and text messages."
Id. at #238. When Gonzales swore out the affidavit,
he was aware that CW was on felony probation supervision in
the Virginia court system. During the course of the
investigation, sometime in July 2016, Gonzales learned from
CW that she was on probation. CW told Gonzales that she
previously had been arrested for prostitution. Gonzales
assumed that CW was on probation for the prostitution
offense. Gonzales also testified that, on July 14, 2016, CW
told him that she had an encounter with the Henrico County
Police one week earlier, and that CW disclosed that she had
made a false statement to a Henrico police officer about her
identify during that traffic stop.
voluntarily provided the information to him and explained
that she wanted to set the matter straight. Gonzales then
contacted the Henrico Police Department, and the Henrico
Commonwealth Attorney's Office agreed to set up a meeting
with CW. Gonzales escorted CW to the Henrico Court on July
25, 2016, where she was charged and held in jail without
bond. Gonzales again explained that none of the information
regarding CW's criminal history, other than the
information that she was an escort, ...