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United States of America v. Keenan Black

October 9, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEENAN BLACK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS (DOC. NO. 959)

Presently before the Court is Defendant Keenan Black's Motion to Suppress. Doc. No. 959. On August 21, 2012, the Government filed an Omnibus Response in Opposition to Defendants' Pre-trial Motions, which addressed Defendant Black's Motion to Suppress. Doc. No. 989, 18-31. This Court held a Suppression Hearing on the Motion on September 18 and 27, 2012. The following witnesses testified: FBI Agent Karen Springmeyer, Pittsburgh Police Detective Thomas Gault, and Defendant Keenan Black. After the hearing, the Government filed a Brief in Opposition to Defendant Black's Motion (Doc. No. 1033) and Defendant filed a Brief in Support thereof (Doc. No. 1034). In light of this Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, as set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Suppress will be denied.

I.Findings of Fact

1. On January 6, 2011, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") and Pittsburgh Police officers assigned to a federal task force were listening to live feeds of cell phone communications between Co-Defendant Deron Nixon and others. Cell phone communications were intercepted during the last week of December 2010 and the first week of January 2011 as part of an ongoing investigation. The communications were obtained via a wiretap that had been authorized as part of an investigation into the Manchester OG's, a violent street gang based in Pittsburgh's Northside neighborhood.

2. Agent Karen Springmeyer was one of the agents that was serving as an "overhearer" (aka listening to a live feed). Pittsburgh Police Detective Amy Mattia was also listening to the communications.

3. During the investigation, agents were in contact with officers to cover locations to verify suspects and to provide physical surveillance.

4. Sometime in the afternoon of January 6, 2011, Agent Springmeyer communicated with Pittsburgh Police Detective Thomas Gault and asked him to obtain the identification of the person who was communicating with Deron Nixon in regards to the drug deal that the overhearers believed had occurred. Previous surveillance indicated to the agents that the person, known to agents as "Son" (aka Sondra), was driving a blue 2003 Dodge Durango.

5. Detective Gault followed the blue 2003 Dodge Durango in question until he observed a moving violation (failure to use turn signal).

6. Detective Gault approached the vehicle and obtained the driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. This information indicated that the unknown woman who had been communicating with Co-Defendant Deron Nixon was Co-Defendant Sondra Hunter (aka "Son").

7. Later that same day, Agent Springmeyer and others overhearers heard conversations that led them to believe that a drug deal would be occurring shortly.

8. At approximately 10:00PM, Detective Gault received information from agents listening to the wiretap that, based upon realtime intercepted communications, a drug deal was about to occur on Vinceton Street. Detective Gault was working with his partners Detectives Calvin Kennedy, Jedd Emery, and Mark Adametz. Detective Gault was informed that it involved the same blue 2003 Dodge Durango he had pulled over that afternoon.

9. The Detectives, who were in the same vehicle, traveled to Vinceton Street. The Detectives stopped briefly and then circled the block. Detective Gault observed Co-Defendant Hunter's blue 2003 Dodge Durango which was parked in the 4000 block of Vinceton Street.

10. The Detectives approached the vehicle, Detectives Emery and Gault on the driver's side and Detectives Adametx and ...


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