United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Smith Camp Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Findings and Recommendation
(F&R), ECF No. 55, issued by Magistrate Judge Susan M.
Bazis. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Motion to
Suppress filed by Defendant Isaac Johnson, ECF No. 39, be
denied. Johnson filed an Objection to the F&R, ECF No.
56, as allowed by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and NECrimR
59.2(a). The Government responded to the Objection, ECF No.
57. For the reasons set forth below, the F&R will be
adopted, and the Motion to Suppress will be denied.
is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Indictment,
ECF No. 1. Johnson moves to suppress evidence obtained from
the warrantless search of his motor vehicle on February 17,
2019. Johnson does not object to the Magistrate Judge’s
factual findings. Having reviewed the record, the Court
adopts those findings and provides the following by way of
October 2017, officers associated with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and other law enforcement agencies began
investigating Johnson’s co-defendant, Anthony Moore,
based on evidence that Moore operated a cocaine trafficking
organization. As the investigation progressed, officers
broadened their scope to discover Moore’s supplier. In
November 2018, investigators obtained a wiretap and heard
Moore indicate that one of his suppliers was named
the wiretap and other surveillance techniques, officers
discovered that “Ike” was Johnson. Johnson
resided in Houston, Texas, and rented a Nissan Altima to make
trips to Moore’s residence in Omaha. Based on evidence
and experience, officers believed that each time Johnson
drove from Houston to Omaha, he would deliver cocaine to
February 15, 2019, law enforcement intercepted a call between
Johnson and Moore indicating that Johnson would deliver
cocaine to Omaha on February 17, 2019. Based on information
from intercepted calls and other evidence, law enforcement
obtained a search warrant for Moore’s home. The warrant
did not authorize a search of Johnson’s vehicle. On
February 17, surveillance teams surrounded Moore’s
residence. Surveillance teams also tracked Johnson’s
vehicle as it traveled from Houston to Omaha. Johnson arrived
at Moore’s residence at approximately 3:00 p.m.
Johnson arrived, a SWAT team parked behind his vehicle and
secured Johnson. Law enforcement asserted that Johnson was
detained but he was not under arrest. At some point after
Johnson was detained, law enforcement searched his vehicle.
Law enforcement found approximately twelve ounces of cocaine
in a natural void in the driver’s door panel.
Magistrate Judge concluded that law enforcement had probable
cause to search Johnson’s vehicle. Johnson objects to
the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion, arguing that there
were no exigent circumstances to justify a search of his
vehicle without a warrant.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and NECrimR 59.2(a), the Court
shall make a de novo review of the portions of the
Magistrate’s Findings and Recommendation to which
objections have been made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge’s
findings and recommendations. The Court may also receive
further evidence or remand the matter to the Magistrate Judge
Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to
be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S.
Const. amend. IV. “[S]earches conducted outside the
judicial process, without prior approval by judge or
magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth
Amendment-subject only to a few specifically established and
well-delineated exceptions.” Katz v. United
States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967) (footnote omitted).
Among the exceptions to the warrant requirement is the
“automobile exception, ” which “authorizes
officers to search a vehicle without a warrant if they have
probable cause to believe the vehicle contains evidence of
criminal activity.” United States v. Hill, 386
F.3d 855, 858 (8th Cir. 2004).
the original justifications for the automobile exception was
that it was “not practicable to secure a warrant
because the [automobile] can be quickly moved out of the
locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be
sought.” California v. Carney, 471 ...