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United States v. Arzola

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

August 31, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY T. ARZOLA, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          ROBERT E. LARSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence. Defendant moves the Court to suppress evidence seized as a result of his September 1, 2016 arrest. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         An indictment was returned on September 20, 2016, charging Defendant with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Defendant filed a motion to suppress (Doc. No. 27) and the government responded (Doc. No. 30). An evidentiary hearing was then held. The government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Green. Defendant was present, represented by appointed counsel Bill Raymond. The government called the following witnesses to testify: (1) Grandview, Missouri Police Department Detective Paul Brooks; (2) Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Sergeant Brad Dumit; (3) Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Detective Greg Harmon; and (4) Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Detective William Hooley. The following exhibits were admitted into evidence:

Government's Exhibit 1: Dash cam video;
Government's Exhibit 2: Video of statements from William Edwards and Jeffrey Arzola; and
Government's Exhibit 3: Miranda waiver.

         II. EVIDENCE

         On the basis of the evidence presented at the suppression hearing, I submit the following findings of fact.

         1. Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Detective William Hooley is a member of the Vice Squad (Tr. at 4). Detective Hooley's work with the Vice Squad includes undercover operations related to sex trafficking, prostitution and narcotics (Tr. at 4-5). When involved in undercover prostitution investigations, Detective Hooley generally plays the role of a customer (Tr. at 5).

         2. On September 1, 2016, Detective Hooley was assisting the FBI with an investigation that pertained to the use of an underage girl in human trafficking (Tr. at 4, 8, 19). Detective Hooley obtained a telephone No. from an advertisement on Backpage.com, called the No. and spoke to a female whose real name he later learned to be Nicole Lewis (Tr. at 8-9, 22).

         3. Detective Hooley spoke to Ms. Lewis at least four or five times that day to coordinate details of the transaction; he never spoke to anyone but Ms. Lewis (Tr. at 9, 23). They agreed Detective Hooley would meet Ms. Lewis for “full-service” in exchange for $200 (Tr. at 9, 23). The discussions always involved sex with Ms. Lewis, not with a minor (Tr. at 23-24).

         4. Because the meeting location was going to be in Grandview, Missouri, Detective Hooley's team enlisted the assistance of the Grandview Police Department (Tr. at 10). All law enforcement officers involved in the operation met for a briefing in the parking lot of a high school beforehand (Tr. at 10, 24-25). The Grandview officers were familiar with the residence involved, and told Detective Hooley during the briefing that he was going into a bad place that was known for prostitution, drugs, and that usually had a lot of people there (Tr. at 11, 25, 32). Law enforcement frequently received calls for service regarding the residence (Tr. at 51).

         5. When Detective Hooley arrived at the residence, he parked across the street (Tr. at 12). An unhappy neighbor came outside, told Detective Hooley he was not a nice person to go there and repeatedly told him to move his car (Tr. at 12-13, 26). Detective Hooley did so and walked up to the residence where Ms. Lewis was standing in the doorway (Tr. at 13).

         6. Ms. Lewis let Detective Hooley inside the residence; it was a very dark, split-entry house (Tr. at 13, 14). A neon clock in the front room was the only light Detective Hooley could see (Tr. at 13-14). Detective ...


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