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United States of America v. Jose Freddy Alvarez

March 16, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOSE FREDDY ALVAREZ, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Houston United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS ) [DOC. # 7]

INTRODUCTION

Currently pending before this Court is the motion to suppress filed by Defendant Jose Freddy Alvarez ("Defendant") to suppress the statement he made to law enforcement officers his arrest. Defendant's motion has been fully briefed by the parties. After a thorough review of the pleadings, the relevant exhibits, and the oral argument of counsel at the hearing,

Court hereby DENIES Defendant's motion to suppress his statement.

BACKGROUND

Procedural Background On January 25, 2012, Defendant was charged in a one count indictment for knowingly intentionally importing 500mg or more of a controlled substance into the United States,

21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 960. See Doc. #1.

On January 30, 2012, Defendant brought a motion to suppress the statement he made law enforcement officers after his arrest on December 9, 2011. See Doc. #7. On February 2012, the government filed its opposition. See Doc. #9. A hearing was held on February 15, 2012.

Factual Background

On December 9, 2011, around 7:30 p.m., Defendant drove a pickup truck to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. After a narcotics detector dog alerted on his truck, Defendant and his were directed to the secondary inspection area where a United States Customs and Border Protection officer discovered a foil covered object in the truck's manifold. Around 9:30 officers recovered ten packages concealed in the manifold. The packages contained 3.14 kilograms of methamphetamine. Around 12 a.m., Homeland Security Investigation Agents Jeffrey Collins and Jeffrey Roberts informed Defendant he was under arrest for importation of methamphetamine. Defendant was interviewed in an interrogation room at the San Ysidro Port of Entry security office.

Defendant's post-arrest interview with Agents Collins and Roberts was recorded on DVD provided to this Court. See Ex. A: Post-Arrest Interview of Jose Freddy Alvarez. The DVD showed that Special Agent Collins recited to Defendant his Miranda rights from the "Statement

Rights." Id. Defendant did not ask any questions of the first five rights as they were recited him, but indicated that he did not understand the last of the rights, which states "If you decide to answer questions now, you still have the right to stop the questioning at any time, to stop the questioning for the purpose of consulting an attorney." See Ex. A, B. Agent Collins responded by explaining "if you want to talk to us, answer our questions now, and then decide later on that you want to stop, you don't want to answer our questions anymore or you want the attorney with you, all you have to do is say so and we'll stop, right then and there."

Ex. A. Defendant then placed his initials next to the right, as he had with the preceding rights, indicating he received the advisement and understood it. See Ex. A, B. Additionally, Defendant signed the Miranda waiver, indicating that he was advised of all of his Miranda rights, understood them, and waived them freely and voluntarily. Id.

At various points in the interview, the agents accused Defendant of lying. See Ex. A. also promised "to write a report to make [Defendant] look good in front of the judge," Defendant would cooperate. Id. After Defendant denied his knowledge of the methamphetamine, Agent Collins advised Defendant: "I will be writing a report tonight to the judge. I can either write you lied and did not tell the truth; or I can write you took responsibility and told the truth." Id. The agents then questioned Defendant about his ownership and possession of the pickup truck, to which Defendant replied that the truck remained in his possession after it was purchased. Id. Agent Collins confronted Defendant, saying: "You are not being honest ... Drugs don't just appear in a car ..." Id. Agent Roberts also joined in and said: "You are lying to us. You are not going to walk out. You are going to jail.

is your first chance to make a good impression to the judge." Id.

Fifteen minutes into the interview, Defendant asked the agents: "How will you help Id. To which Agent Roberts replied: "... we can't make you promises about what the judge is going to do ... there is a very simple explanation about who this stuff belongs to and where its going and we need for you to tell us that, so we can put it in the report. Otherwise, looks like you're the drug trafficker ..." Id. Agent Collins added: "You are going to jail for people ..." Id. The agents continued to tell Defendant that they would "write him a good report to the judge" if he would cooperate. Id. Defendant asked and the agents permitted Defendant to call home. Id. Defendant paused to think after calling home, and he began to make inculpatory statements. Id. The interview continued for another half an hour, during which time the agents continued to request Defendant's ...


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