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United States v. Gonzalez

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 30, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
BENJAMIN E. GONZALEZ, Defendant.

MOTION TO SUPPRSS PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

CYNTHIA M. RUFE, J.

Defendant Benjamin Gonzalez is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(k). Defendant has filed a Motion to Suppress the two guns that form the basis of the indictment, claiming that the police discovered the guns in the course of an unlawful search. Upon consideration of Defendant’s Motion to Suppress, the Government’s response thereto, the evidence, testimony, and oral argument presented at an evidentiary hearing on the Motion, and upon further review of the hearing transcript, the Court now enters its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

I. Findings of FACT

1. In the early morning of September 7, 2012, Defendant Benjamin Gonzalez, a felon previously convicted of selling drugs, [1] was attacked and kidnapped. The assailants stole his house keys and asked Mr. Gonzalez who was at his house. Mr. Gonzalez said that his girlfriend and two brothers were there; the assailants threatened to kill the people at the house, and Mr. Gonzalez told them that he had a safe at home with $3, 000 in it that they could take.[2]

2. That same morning, two armed men broke into a house at 5126 Walker Street, Philadelphia, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where Amanda Cordero lived with Mr. Gonzalez.[3]

3. Ms. Cordero was at home with her child, but Mr. Gonzalez was not there.[4]

4. After entering the house, the two men handcuffed Ms. Cordero, searched the house, and left.[5]

5. Ms. Cordero then telephoned her mother, who did not answer.[6]

6. After failing to reach her mother, Ms. Cordero called her cousin Clementina Ortiz.[7]

7. Ms. Ortiz in turn called her brother, Philadelphia Police Officer Victor Ortiz.[8]

8. Officer Ortiz then called the incident into the police.[9]

9. Philadelphia K-9 Police Officer Sean Elkins responded to a police radio call reporting the home invasion.[10]

10. Upon Officer Elkins’ arrival at 5126 Walker Street, Ms. Cordero and her child were across the street from the house with Officer Ortiz.[11]

11. Ms. Cordero was still handcuffed when Officer Elkins arrived. Officer Ortiz asked Officer Elkins for a handcuff key; he gave Officer Ortiz a key, and Officer Ortiz unlocked Ms. Cordero’s handcuffs.[12]

12. After Ms. Cordero was uncuffed, Officer Elkins and an Officer Cahill, who also responded to the scene, asked Ms. Cordero whether anyone else was in the house. When she replied that she did not know, they entered the house to make ...


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