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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 28, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE JONES JR., Defendant.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge

         The matters before the Court are as follows: 1) Defendant's motion to suppress arrest (ECF No. 21); 2) Defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment (ECF No. 37); 3) Defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment (ECF No. 42); and Defendant's motion for a judicial order regarding potential witness (ECF No. 47).

         FACTS

         On June 11, 2016, United States Border Patrol Agent Martinez was assigned to the Highway 94 checkpoint conducting inspection duties. The nearest town to the fixed location checkpoint is Jamul. There are no businesses and few residences located in immediate vicinity of the checkpoint. Agent Martinez testified that he had worked at fixed border checkpoints for eight years, including the Highway 94 checkpoint. Agent Martinez testified that recent apprehensions and smuggling events at the Highway 94 checkpoint indicated an organization out of San Bernadino was picking up illegal aliens near Tecate and dropping them off just east of the checkpoint. Agent Martinez testified that the individuals would take a trail on the north side of the checkpoint and gt picked up west of the checkpoint to avoid detections and inspection. At approximately 1:42 p.m., motorcyclist approached the primary inspection booth and told Agent Martinez that he just observed three individuals get out of a silver Mazda pointing back to his east along Highway 94. Agent Martinez testified that the motorcyclist indicated to him that the vehicle that had dropped off the three people approaching the primary booth and pointed to a silver Mazda.

         The motorcyclist testified that he was driving home from work on Highway 94, a two lane road with a gravel shoulder.[1] The motorcyclist testified that he was following behind a silver import which pulled over to the gravel shoulder just before the last corner before the checkpoint. The motorcyclist testified that three individuals got out of the car and run into the gully on the side of the road. The motorcyclist testified that this took place just east of the checkpoint in an area that was not observable from the checkpoint. The motorcyclist testified that the area had no businesses or residences in the area and that he believed this looked suspicious and strange. The motorcyclist testified that he informed the agent as he stopped at primary inspection that three people just jumped out of a little silver import right around the corner.

         Agent Martinez questioned the driver of the silver Mazda sedan at primary inspection. The driver stated that he was a United States citizen, and that he was coming from Tecate. The driver displayed a drivers license from the Los Angeles area. Agent Martinez sent the driver, the Defendant in this case, to secondary inspection at approximately 1:43 p.m.

         At approximately 1:50 p.m.. Border Patrol Agent Kratt and his assigned canine arrived at the checkpoint. Agent Kratt was informed of the citizen report and left the checkpoint with his canine in search of the people that had reportedly been dropped off prior to the checkpoint. Agent Kratt arrived at the area described by the motorcyclist and encountered three individuals concealing themselves in the surrounding bushes approximately thirty minutes after exiting his vehicle and beginning the search. The individuals were found approximately 1/3 mile east of the checkpoint and 20 feet north of S.R. 94, in the area where the motorcyclist stated the three individuals had exited the silver Mazda.

         Agent Kratt conducted a field interview on the three individuals to determine their alienage and immigration status. The three individuals stated that they were born in Mexico, that they were Mexican citizens, and that they did not have any immigration documents to legally enter the United States. One of the individuals, later identified as Jose Alberto Hernandez-Hernandez told Agent Kratt that he was picked up in Tecate, CA and dropped off by a black driver near the area that he was found. Hernandez-Hernandez told Agent Kratt that he was going to hike over the hill to get around the checkpoint. Agent Kratt placed the three individuals under arrest for entering the being in the United States illegally.

         At approximately 2:45 p.m., Agent Kratt returned to the checkpoint and placed the Defendant under arrest for alien smuggling.

         On June 23, 2016, an indictment was filed charging the Defendant Willie Jones, Jr. with three counts of transportation of an alien with the intent to violate the immigration laws in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324 (a)(1)(A)(ii). (ECF No. 13).

         On Defendant moved to suppress his seizure and arrest on the grounds that the agents lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him. (ECF No. 21).

         On November 7, 2016, Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the agents lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him. (ECF No. 37).

         On December 5, 2016, Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the agents lacked probable cause to arrest him. (ECF No. 37).

         On December 15, 2016, the Government filed a response in opposition to the motions to suppress his seizure and arrest and the ...


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