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United States v. Perez-Vasquez

June 1, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARKUS ANTONIO PEREZ-VASQUEZ DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, Chief District Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On July 5, 2006, Carroll Township Police Officer Massafra observed a vehicle at approximately 2:15 A.M. coming in the opposite direction. The vehicle did not dim its high beams, which was a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code.

2. Massafra turned around, activated the lights on the police car he was driving and stopped the vehicle.

3. Massafra approached the vehicle, asked for identification and told the driver the reason for the stop. The vehicle was driven by Defendant.

4. Massafra returned to the police car and determined from the dispatcher that Defendant's license was under suspension and that the vehicle was owned by someone other than Defendant.

5. Massafra wrote a citation and upon giving it to Defendant, smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

6. Massafra asked Defendant if there was marijuana in the vehicle and Defendant answered, "No" and immediately offered Massafra the opportunity to search the vehicle.

7. Massafra asked Defendant to exit the vehicle and stand in front of the police vehicle where Massafra incorrectly told Defendant there was a camera.

8. Upon searching the vehicle, Massafra saw what appeared to be marijuana and crack in a bag under the driver's seat, char boy (a crack pipe filter) in the back, along with baggies.

9. Massafra arrested Defendant and took Defendant to the police station for processing.

10. Massafra asked Defendant no questions after Defendant was arrested and Defendant made no statements after his arrest.

11. On July 13, 2006, Pennsylvania State Troopers Spisak and Gregg were on patrol looking for an individual with an outstanding warrant in the Bentleyville area of Washington County. Spisak and Gregg were in full uniform in a marked vehicle. This was a high-crime area.

12. Spisak and Gregg observed two (2) men, one of whom was Defendant, and approached them. Defendant began to walk away.

13. Spisak and Gregg began to talk to the other individual. Defendant stopped walking and Gregg began to talk to Defendant. When Gregg asked Defendant his name, Defendant responded Mark or Mike Johnson. Defendant also stated that he was visiting his cousin "Twiz". Gregg knew "Twiz" to be an individual involved in drug trafficking. Defendant told Gregg he could not remember his cousin's real name. Gregg also knew the ...


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