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United States v. Pardo

United States District Court, D. Maine

September 26, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
YEHUDI PARDO, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          George Z. Singal United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant Yehudi Pardo’s Motion to Suppress (ECF No. 423), as well as related amended Motions to Suppress (ECF Nos. 492 & 503) and a Memorandum in Support of these Motions (ECF No. 509). The Court held an evidentiary hearing on these Motions on September 18, 2019, at which the Government introduced eleven exhibits and the testimony of two witnesses and Defendant submitted a one-page affidavit (ECF No. 514). For reasons that follow, the Court now DENIES Defendant Pardo’s Motions to Suppress (ECF Nos. 423, 492 & 503).

         I. FACTUAL FINDINGS

         On February 8, 2018, as part of an ongoing investigation of a Maine-based, drug-trafficking organization, this Court authorized wire interception under 18 U.S.C. § 2518 for a target telephone connected to Timothy Bellmore, a named co-defendant in this case. The multi-agency investigation was focused on suspected commercial marijuana cultivation and money laundering.

         Lewiston Police Officer Brian Bourgoin, then on a federal detail with the Drug Enforcement Agency, was one of the investigators.

         During the night hours of February 15, 2018, the wiretap surveillance picked up the following text exchanged between Bellmore’s target phone and a phone number that was later associated with Pardo[1]:

PARDO: How many minimum BELLMORE: For ? PARDO: Clone order PARDO: 250 min order BELLMORE: So mix em up

(Gov’t Ex. 8.) As Officer Bourgoin explained, as it relates to marijuana cultivation, the term “clone” refers to a small, immature marijuana plant and 250 clones can be used to grow 250 mature marijuana plants.

         On February 23, 2018, by way of a pole camera, agents observed a gray Toyota Tundra with a Massachusetts license plate arrive at one of Bellmore’s places of business in Lewiston. Agents obtained registration information for this vehicle. After it left that location, Officer Brian Bourgoin followed the vehicle on to the Maine Turnpike and then visually confirmed that this vehicle was being operated by its registered owner, Pardo.

         Also, on the evening of February 23, 2018, wiretap surveillance captured the following text exchange between Bellmore’s phone and Pardo’s phone:

PARDO: Looking like 4 pizzas and 3000 pens for tomorrow
BELLMORE: ok

(Gov’t Ex. 9.) In a follow-up phone call on the evening of February 24, 2018, Pardo told Bellmore: “See you tomorrow morning. Four pizzas and 3, 000 pens. . . . I’ll probably be there before noon.” (Gov’t Exs. 2-T & 10.) According to Officer Bourgoin, during the course of this investigation, two other targets were stopped in New Hampshire and had pizza boxes seized that contained marijuana extract known as “dabs” or “shatter.” Thus, law enforcement believed the reference to “pizzas” related to marijuana extract, and “pens” referred to smoking cartridges containing marijuana extract liquid that are used for vaporizing.

         As it turned out the following day, February 25, 2018, was an inclement weather day in Maine with freezing rain that resulted in the Maine Turnpike Authority reducing the speed limit on I-95 to 45 miles per hour. At approximately 12:30 PM, the wiretap captured a call from Pardo’s phone to Bellmore acknowledging that the weather was “nasty” and ...


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