The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE
Defendant Frank A. Beasley was charged in a two-count indictment with manufacturing, distributing, dispensing and possessing controlled substances (methamphetamine and amphetamine), with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense them, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. After a jury trial, Beasley was found guilty as to count I (methamphetamine) and not guilty as to count II (amphetamine). Presently before the Court are Beasley's motions for a new trial and/or arrest of judgment
on the ground that he was arrested without probable cause and without a warrant and, as such, statements he made following that arrest, even though preceded by Miranda warnings, should have been suppressed.
Beasley was arrested without a warrant first having been issued. Whether that warrantless arrest was constitutionally valid depends upon whether "at the moment the arrest was made, the officers had probable cause to make it -- whether at that moment the facts and circumstances within their knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the [suspect] had committed or was committing an offense." Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91, 13 L. Ed. 2d 142, 85 S. Ct. 223 (1964) (citations omitted). See United States v. Martin, 509 F.2d 1211, 1213 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 421 U.S. 967, 95 S. Ct. 1958, 44 L. Ed. 2d 455 (1975); Government of Virgin Islands v. Hernandez, 508 F.2d 712, 715 (3d Cir. 1975). Therefore, we must examine the facts to determine whether the requisite probable cause existed.
Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") Special Agent Harry W. Clements, Jr., testified at the suppression hearing on the admissibility of Beasley's post arrest statements that on November 11 and 12, 1974, he interviewed a confidential informant concerning narcotics activity in Philadelphia, who had previously given detailed and accurate information to the DEA which had been utilized to corroborate other information given to the DEA in three different cases. The informant stated that, within the week preceding the 11th and 12th, he had observed three individuals -- namely, "Frank the chemist," who was a black male, approximately 5 feet 11 inch and 170 pounds, Peyton Crump and Melvin Fulton -- manufacturing methamphetamine hydrochloride in a residence located at 1313 East Rittenhouse Street. He also described the residence in some detail, including the telephone number at the residence, which he claimed was a private unlisted number. A subsequent check with the phone company revealed that the number was unlisted and that the subscriber was Frank Beasley. Agent Clements then went through the DEA's files and found a closed narcotics case wherein Beasley had been a suspect. He also obtained a picture of Beasley which was shown to the informant and was apparently confirmed by him to be that of "Frank the chemist." On both November 12 and 13, Agent Clements and other DEA agents conducted surveillance of the premises and, on the afternoon of the 13th, they went to 1313 East Rittenhouse Street to execute a search warrant. Before the agents were able to execute the warrant, Beasley and another individual came out of the residence, got into a car, drove around the block and went back inside. Another agent, having seen a picture of Beasley and thus able to identify one of the two men as Beasley, notified Agent Clements of the above-stated occurrence. Immediately thereafter, Beasley came back out of the house with the same individual, got back into the car and drove away. At that point, Agent Clements and his men moved in and arrested Beasley.
The Court believes that all of these facts, taken together, amply demonstrate that, at the time of the arrest, the agents had probable cause to believe that Beasley was involved in the manufacturing of a controlled substance.
Beasley contends, however, that even if there was probable cause to arrest, the agents were required to procure a warrant prior to the arrest. Assuming, arguendo, that an arrest warrant must be obtained even though probable cause exists,
there were exigent circumstances in this case which justify the delay. Agent Clements testified that DEA agents had been conducting surveillance of the premises for two days and were afraid that their presence had been detected by Beasley. This is certainly a logical inference, as the agents were strangers in the neighborhood and had been driving up and down the street for two days. In addition, the agents had information that Beasley did not live at 1313 East Rittenhouse Street. Coupled with the fact that Beasley was departing by automobile, the agents could reasonably assume that Beasley might never come back. Therefore, the agents were not required to procure a warrant, as there was a likelihood that Beasley might have escaped had he not been swiftly apprehended.
Accordingly, the motion for new trial will be denied.
AND NOW, TO WIT, this 28th day of November, 1975, IT IS ORDERED that defendant's motions for new trial and/or arrest of judgment are hereby denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Frank A. Beasley shall appear for sentencing in Courtroom 17B of the United States Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets, at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, December 18, 1975.