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United States of America v. Juan Sanchez

July 10, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JUAN SANCHEZ



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The indictment in this case charges Defendant Juan Sanchez with possession of firearms by a person prohibited, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e). In Count One, he is charged with possessing and affecting interstate commerce with a Ruger, .22 caliber pistol, Model MK II, serial number 221-17934 ("the Ruger") after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. In Count Two, he is charged with possessing four other firearms, which were found during a search of Defendant's residence at 3537 North Water Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("3537 Water"), after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Defendant has filed a motion to suppress the evidence found during the search of 3537 North Water Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("3537 Water") and also statements made by Defendant after the search, in which he admitted purchasing and selling the Ruger.

Defendant couples his motion to suppress with requests for discovery, seeking disclosure of all statements, documents and notes related to law enforcement's identification of Defendant.

Upon consideration of the motion and opposition thereto, and after oral argument on May 25, 2012, the Court denies the request for discovery and the motion to suppress.

I. FACTUAL*fn1 AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On or about July 9, 2010, seven firearms were stolen from the home of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Uwchlan Township, Pennsylvania, including a Ruger .22-caliber pistol, serial number 221-17934 ("the Ruger"). Victor and Jonathan Fuentes (the "Fuentes brothers") were later arrested and charged with the theft. After taking the Fuentes Brothers' statements, federal agents interviewed Norbert Estevez on August 23, 2010.

Estevez waived his Miranda rights*fn2 and informed the agents that the Fuentes Brothers had told him about the theft of seven firearms from the DEA agent, and asked if Estevez was interested in selling one or more of the firearms for them. He agreed to sell the Ruger and one other firearm, and he did so. Estevez told the agents that he sold the Ruger to an individual named "Papo," approximately one month before the interview, for $250. Estevez kept $50, and the Fuentes Brothers were given the balance. The sale occurred in Estevez's home on Kip Street, but Estevez informed the agents that Papo lived near A and Tioga Streets in Philadelphia and managed a bar, Many Faces, at that intersection.

The next day, August 24, 2010, the agents went to Many Faces at 3454 A Street and heard a waitress refer to a man behind the bar as "Papo." "Papo" confirmed that he worked at the bar, and identified himself as Juan Sanchez. A database check confirmed that Defendant lived at 3537 Water Street, one block from Many Faces. A background check also revealed that Defendant had several felony drug convictions, the most recent in 2007, and, because of those convictions, Defendant was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Finally, also on August 24, 2010, agents showed a photograph of Defendant to Estevez. Estevez identified Defendant as "Papo," to whom he had sold the Ruger on Kip Street.

The agents prepared an affidavit supporting a search warrant for Defendant's residence at 3537 Water, which provided a detailed account of how the agents had identified Defendant as the "Papo" who had purchased the Ruger. On August 25, 2010, the magistrate judge signed the search warrant, permitting agents to search 3537 Water for the Ruger.

On August 26, 2010, agents searched 3537 Water and seized, from a bedroom, four firearms, but not the Ruger. In addition, agents found six packets of heroin inside Defendant's wallet, along with his identification card. Bills addressed to Defendant at 3537 Water were also found during the search.

Defendant was arrested, apprised of his Miranda rights, and interviewed. Defendant admitted that he had purchased the Ruger from Estevez 2-4 weeks earlier, explained that he had resold the gun the same day for $550, and admitted to owning the firearms found in his house. About three months later, a federal grand jury charged him with two counts of possession of firearms by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e).

The Government produced the affidavit supporting the search warrant, the search warrant itself, Defendant's statements to investigators, and Defendant's criminal history to defense counsel. In response to requests from counsel, the Government also provided unredacted copies of materials ...


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