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United States v. Rudtke

United States District Court, S.D. California

February 20, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RUBEN LEE RUDTKE, Defendant.

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.

In the matter before the Court, Defendant Ruben Lee Rudtke moves the Court as follows:

1) Suppress fruit of administrative subpoenas to Craigslist (ECF No. 36-1);

2) Suppress fruit of search warrant to Yahoo! email account (ECF No. 36-2);

3) Suppress fruit of administrative subpoenas to Sprint and AT&T (ECF No. 36-3);

4) Suppress fruit of search warrant for residence and computers (ECF No. 36-4); and

5) Hold a Franks hearing regarding misstatements and omissions in the various subpoenas and search warrant applications (ECF No. 36-5).

On November 1, 2011, the grand jury in the Southern District of California returned a single count Indictment charging Defendant Ruben Lee Rudtke with distributing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 2252(a)(2).

On the same day, Defendant Rudtke was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty. Defendant Rudtke was released on bond.

On April 9, 2012, Defendant Rudtke failed to appear at his motion hearing before this Court. A no bail bench warrant was issued.

Defendant Rudtke was later arrested in Malta and returned to the United States.

On August 13, 2013, Defendant Rudtke appeared before the United States Magistrate Judge.

On September 9, 2013, Defendant Rudtke filed the motions to suppress before this Court.

On December 13, 2013, the Government filed its response. The Court held a hearing. The parties were given the opportunity to present evidence and to contest any fact in the record. The parties agreed that an evidentiary hearing was not required, with the exception of Defendant's request for a Franks hearing.

UNDISPUTED FACTS

In December 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) began an investigation into individuals in the San Diego, California area using the public website, Craigslist.com (Craigslist) to meet other individuals who expressed interest in sexually exploiting children and trading child pornography.

In January 2011, members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a warrant at the home of Christopher Ian Gustard after task force agents utilized a publicly available peer-to-peer file sharing program to download illegal images of child pornography from Gustard.[1] In an interview with task force agents, Gustard admitted to using the on line service Craigslist to find other individuals sexually attracted to children. Gustard told agents that he communicated using the email address musclstud21@yahoo.com with others interested in child pornography. Gustard told agents that he would use the term "taboo" in his postings to indicate that he was interested in finding someone who was sexually interested in children. Agents viewed the email address twohottiessd@yahoo.com on the profile section of Gustard's accounts. (ECF No. 36-7 at 10).

On February 9, 2011, utilizing information obtained from Gustard, task force agents received a federal search warrant from the United States Magistrate Judge for the email accounts musclstud21@yahoo.com and twohottiessd@yahoo.com. (ECF No. 36-7 at 11).

On March 1, 2011, task force agents received a compact disk from Yahoo! that contained the information sought in the search warrant for the email accounts musclstud21@yahoo.com and twohottiessd@yahoo.com. Agents discovered numerous email accounts communicating with Gustard, via these email accounts regarding interests in child pornography. Id.

On March 3, 2011, task force agents served an administrative subpoena on Craigslist requesting Craigslist postings made by Gustard via the email addresses musclstud21@yahoo.com and twohottiessd@yahoo.com. (ECF No. 36-3 at 2).

On March 8, 2011, Craigslist responded to the subpoenas with the data regarding the ads that had been posted on twohottiessd@yahoo.com between March 24, 2009 and December 13, 2010. The data provided by Craigslist included the Postings (ECF No. 43-2) and the Response Logs for the Postings (ECF No. 43-3). The Postings included the language of the ad posted and other information including the Posting ID number, the date on which the ad was published, and the reply email. The Response Logs identify what email user, if any, responded to the ad. The Response Logs identify the Posting ID number of the ad and the email address of each email user that responded to the ad. Cross-referencing the Postings and the Logs allowed law enforcement to associate the email users responding to a specific ad posted by Gustard. Law enforcement identified curtis.munsey@gmail.com as one of the many email users that responded to Gustard's Craigslist posts. (ECF No. 43-2 at 1-11).

On March 10, 2011, task force agents served an administrative subpoena upon Craigslist for the postings made by fifteen different email users including curtis.munsey@gmail.com, raymond.a.evans@gmail.com, and derekmurphystory@yahoo.com. (ECF No. 36-4).

On April 20, 2011, Craigslist responded to the subpoena with information including a list of ads that curtis.munsey@gmail.com placed on Craigslist between October 12, 2008 and March 9, 2011. (ECF No. 36-4).

On May 6, 2011, task force agents sought and obtained a federal search warrant to Google, Inc. for the email addresses curtis.munsey@gmail.com and forbes.dm@gmail.com. (ECF No. 43-5).

On May 23, 2011, task force agents received the results of the federal search warrant for the email addresses curtis.munsey@gmail.com and forbes.dm@gmail.com. (ECF No. 36-5).

On June 16, 2011, task force agents sought and obtained a federal search warrant to Yahoo, Inc. for nine email addresses including jeremyhester8@yahoo.com. In the probable cause for the email account jeremyhester8@yahoo.com, FBI Special Agent Daniel Evans stated:

After obtaining a search warrant for the email account curtis.munsey@gmail.com, agents conducted a review of messages sent and received from this account. During this review, agents discovered 17 email communications with the email address jeremyhester8@yahoo.com which were sent between March 24, 2011 and April 29, 2011. These messages started after curtis.munsey@gmail.com responded to a Craigslist posting made by jeremyhester8@yahoo.com. In the first message, curtis.munsey@gmail.com indicated that he had "taboo interests."
On March 24, 2011, curtis.munsey@gmail.com informed jeremyhester8@yahoo.com that he is interested in young children. In response jeremyhester8@yahoo.com asked "got pics/vids?
On April 28, 2011, jeremyhester8@yahoo.com sent an email to curtis.munsey@gmail.com that contained two child pornography images. Both of these images show prepubescent males performing oral sex on other prepubescent boys. The text of the email says "what do you think of these? Got tons more"

(ECF No. 36-7 at 16).

Also on June 16, 2011, Special Agent Evans sought and obtained a search warrant from Microsoft, Inc. for the email address dogfckboi@hotmail.co.uk. (ECF No. 43-6). In the support of probable cause, Agent Evans relied upon information obtained from the email search warrant for curtis.munsey@gmail.com for details of communications, including an actual email exchange of child pornography. Agent Evans stated in his declaration:

After obtaining a search warrant for the email account curtis.munsey@gmail.com, agents conducted a review of messages sent and received from this account. During this review, agents discovered 25 email communications with the email address dogfckboi@hotmail.co.uk which were sent between December 14, 2010 and December 28, 2010. Despite the fact that the email account appears to have been created in the United Kingdom, the user of the account states that he is in San Diego, California.
After exchanging several email messages about sex with under aged children, dogfckboi@hotmail.co.uk sent an email message containing four pictures of prepubescent boys. In all of these pictures the boys are nude and the focus is on their penises.

(ECF No. 43-6 at 16).

On June 20, 2011, Agent Evans reviewed the return for the mail search warrant for the email account of dogfckboi@hotmail.co.uk. The results indicated that the email ...


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