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 (ECF No. 16) all evidence and information seized
during the execution of a search warrant at 1704
Mechanicsville Turnpike on October 6, 2017. For the reasons
discussed below, the motion will be denied.
October 5, 2017, Officer Eric O'Brien
("O'Brien") of the Richmond Police Department
presented to a state magistrate an affidavit for a search
warrant for the residence and curtilage of 1704
Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond, Virginia. Search Warrant
(ECF No. 16-1) at 2. The affidavit described in detail the
location and appearance of the residence at that address, as
well as the items to be searched for and
seized. Id. For the "material facts
constituting probable cause that the search should be made,
" O'Brien attached a page that stated, in relevant
On or about July and August of 2017, investigators observed
heavy foot and vehicle traffic originating from 1704
Mechanicsville Tpke., in particular the rear alley area and
the corner of the alley and Redwood Ave. which is just 2 lots
away from 1704 Mechanicsville Tpke.
On or about August 16th of 2017, [O'Brien] and
investigators conducted a controlled purchase of suspected
crack cocaine from a dealer in the immediate area of Redwood
Ave. and Mechanicsville Tpke.
On October 5, 2017, [O'Brien] conducted a "trash
pull" at 1704 Mechanicsville Tpke in order to confirm or
dispel if this address is involved in narcotics distribution.
[O'Brien] went to the rear of this address and observed a
green city of Richmond garbage can outside of the fence line
of the address in the alley. This garbage was put out for
collection, and the city of Richmond lists Thursday as the
collection day for this address. [O'Brien] retrieved from
this garbage can one black garbage bag that had been tied
off, hereafter referred to as Bag 1; and one open black
garbage bag, hereafter referred to as Bag 2.
These items were secured in a separate empty garbage bag and
transported to 1st Precinct. At 1st
Precinct [O'Brien] sorted through the collected items.
From Bag 1 [O'Brien] collected 9 whole sandwich bags with
white powder residue on them, 4 whole sandwich bags with no
residue on them, 6 sandwich bags with the corners missing,
and 3 ripped sandwich bags with knots in them. Also collected
from Bag 1 was an empty carton of baking soda, a tied bag
containing approximately 30 unmarked brown pills
[O'Brien] suspect[ed] to be some sort of vitamin (such as
B12), and 1 document with the name "Latesha
Eberhardt" written on it.
From Bag 2, [O'Brien] collected 2 whole sandwich bags
with white residue, 7 whole sandwich bags with no residue,
and 1 sandwich bag with the corner ripped off. Also collected
from Bag 2 was 1 one dollar bill and a google maps document
giving directions, with a starting address of 1704
In one of the whole sandwich bags with residue from Bag 2
[O'Brien] observed some particles appearing to be an off
white rock like substance. It was enough for a cocaine field
test. [O'Brien] conducted a field test on the narcotics
sample and it was positive for the presence of cocaine.
Id. at 5. A separate attachment also stated that,
based on three years of experience in narcotics
investigations, O'Brien knew that individuals trafficking
narcotics often keep records of controlled substance
purchases and sales in their residences and "stash
houses[s], " and keep receipts, money transfers,
ledgers, firearms, and ammunition in their residences.
Id. at 7.
reviewing this information, the magistrate issued the warrant
at 11:46 a.m. on October 5, 2017. Id. at 1. During
the ensuing search of 1704 Mechanicsville Turnpike on October
6, the police seized an AK-47 firearm with ammunition, green
plant material and a grinder, U.S. currency, several security
cameras, digital scales, a Pyrex cup with white residue, and
a container with a false bottom. Id. at 4; Criminal
Complaint (ECF No. 1) Â¶ 6. Defendant was arrested during the
execution of the search and advised of his rights. He
admitted that the seized property was his, including the
AK-47, and that he deals drugs. Criminal Complaint Â¶ 7. A
subsequent review of Defendant's criminal history
revealed that he has five previous felony convictions.
Id. Â¶ 8.
December 5, 2017, Defendant was indicted on one count of
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. ECF No. 13 at
1. After pleading not guilty at his arraignment, Defendant
filed this motion on January 3, 2018. ECF. No. 16.
suppression hearing, after O'Brien reviewed a map of 1704
Mechanicsville Turnpike and the surrounding neighborhood, he
clarified that the controlled purchase referenced in the
affidavit began at the intersection of the alley behind
Mechanicsville Turnpike and Redwood Avenue, after which an
individual went to 1616 Mechanicsville Turnpike to retrieve
the narcotics being purchased before the transaction was
finalized on Carver Street near the intersection with
Mechanicsville Turnpike. O'Brien also stated that the
area around Mechanicsville Turnpike and Redwood Avenue was a
high-crime area. Finally, he said that he had searched the
trashcan behind 1704 Mechanicsville Turnpike only after an
individual stated, when being debriefed after his arrest,
that there was suspicious narcotics activity at that address.
The individual further stated that Defendant was involved in