United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
E. WALKER, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
February 13, 2019, William Smeal was indicted on one count of
possession with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of
a mixture or substance containing fentanyl, in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1). Mr. Smeal now moves to
suppress “all evidence seized as the result of the
unlawful search and seizure of Defendant's 2009 Mercedes
Benz C-Class.” Def's Mot. to Supp. (ECF No. 59 at
For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.
January 31, 2019, Special Agent Jacob E. Day of the Maine
Drug Enforcement Agency applied for a warrant authorizing the
installation and use of an electronic tracking device to be
installed on a black 2005 Mercedes C-Class bearing license
plate number ME PC 2012WD, and registered to William Smeal.
Gov. Ex. 1. Special Agent Day provided an affidavit
accompanying his warrant application to show he possessed
probable cause for the search. Gov. Ex. 2.
to Special Agent Day's affidavit, as part of an ongoing
investigation into drug trafficking involving the Defendant,
he reviewed intelligence reports accumulated by the Maine
Drug Enforcement Agency. Id. From his review,
Special Agent Day learned that on December 17, 2018, Officer
Andrew Weatherbee of the Ellsworth Police Department
interviewed a concerned citizen (“CC1”) during a
traffic stop who reported that the Defendant was selling
cocaine and anabolic steroids in a parking lot in Ellsworth.
January 23, 2019, Trooper Dana Austin informed Special Agent
Day that he had received information from another concerned
citizen (“CC2”) that the Defendant was traveling
to Massachusetts in his black Mercedes once per week to
purchase one pound of cocaine, which the Defendant was then
cooking into “crack.” Id. Special Agent
Day noted that “[t]he information Trooper Austin
obtained from the concerned citizen came independently of
Officer Weatherbee's source of information who had
intimate knowledge of Mr. Smeal's activities. The
information provided by Trooper Austin's concerned
citizen corroborated the information provided by Officer
Weatherbee's concerned citizen.” Id.
January 28, 2019, Trooper Austin informed Special Agent Day
that he had spoken with the concerned citizen and learned
that the Defendant had driven to Bangor to pick up cocaine a
couple of days prior. Id. The concerned citizen
further reported he had heard the Defendant's cocaine was
“no good, ” and the Defendant was going to travel
back to Massachusetts to get better cocaine. Id.
day, Special Agent Day conducted a DMV registration check and
found a 2005 black Mercedes C-Class with license plate ME PC
2012WD registered in the Defendant's name. Id.
Special Agent Day was familiar with the Defendant, having
surveilled him before, and so knew the Defendant lived at 2
Townhouse Way in Ellsworth, Maine. Id. When he drove
by Townhouse Way on January 30, 2019, Special Agent Day found
it appeared to be vacant. Id. At Special Agent
Day's request, Trooper Austin again contacted the
concerned citizen and found the Defendant was now residing in
Hancock, in a mobile home park off of Maine Route 182.
Id. Special Agent Day was familiar with the area and
drove to the mobile home park, finding a motor vehicle
bearing ME PC 2012WD, and Defendant's second vehicle,
parked in the driveway. Id. Later that day, he
sought and obtained the warrant Defendant challenges from a
Justice of the Peace. Gov. Ex. 3.
placing the electronic tracking device on the Defendant's
vehicle on February 4, 2019, the Maine Drug Enforcement
Agency was alerted on February 13, 2019 that the
Defendant's vehicle was traveling to the area of
Lawrence, Massachusetts. Gov. Ex. 4 at *4. As the
Defendant's vehicle was returning northbound from
Massachusetts, Special Agent Day conferred with an officer
from the Police Department in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and
learned that the Bunkerhill Street area of Lawrence, where
the Defendant's vehicle had stopped, is a known area of
illicit drug use. Id. at *5. That day, Special Agent
Day sought and obtained a search warrant for the
Defendant's vehicle. Gov. Exs. 4, 5. Maine Drug
Enforcement Agents stopped the Defendant and his passenger,
Savana Adams, in Ellsworth, Maine. Gov. Ex. 6. The Defendant
and Ms. Adams were informed of their Miranda rights and
interviewed separately. Id. A K9 sniff was also
conducted on the Defendant and Ms. Adams, with the K9
indicating on the Defendant's hands and on Ms. Adams'
buttock area. Id. Inside the car, agents found a bag
containing a brown powdery substance that Special Agent Day
recognized to be suspected heroin. Id. The gross
weight of the bag and its contents was 111.4 grams.
on February 13, 2019, Special Agent Day sought and obtained a
third search warrant, this time for the Defendant's
residence located on Deerfield Drive in Hancock, Maine. Gov.
Exs. 6, 7. On March 19, 2019, Special Agent Day learned from
a confidential informant that the agents had missed more
“dope” in the Defendant's motor vehicle. Gov.
Ex. 8 at *6. To pursue this further lead, Special Agents Day
and Smith sought and obtained another warrant for the search
of the Defendant's vehicle, which was secured in a locked
facility. Gov. Exs. 8, 9.
Defendant moves to suppress all evidence seized after
issuance of the January 31, 2019 tracker warrant because
Special Agent Day's affidavit lacked probable cause. ECF
No. 58 at 7. The Defendant further argues that no good faith
exception applies, despite law enforcement obtaining
additional warrants every step of the way. Id. at
12. For the reasons stated below, I find that Defendant's
arguments lack merit and the Motion is DENIED.
warrant application must demonstrate probable cause to
believe that (1) a crime has been committed-the
‘commission' element, and (2) enumerated evidence
of the offense will be found at the place searched-the
so-called ‘nexus' element.” United
Statesv. Dixon, 787 F.3d 55, ...