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United States v. Molina-Lopez

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

September 24, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Walter Molina-Lopez, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN T. MAUGHMER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Presently pending before the Court is the Motion to Suppress All Evidence Seized as the Result of the Unlawful Search of Dusty Molina-Lopez' Home [Doc. 18] filed by defendant Walter Molina-Lopez (“Molina-Lopez”) on August 5, 2019. On September 16, 2019, the undersigned held an evidentiary hearing on Molina-Lopez' motion. Molina-Lopez was present and represented by his counsel, Assistant Federal Public Defender Carie Allen. The government was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Ashleigh Ragner. At the evidentiary hearing, testimony was provided by Special Agents Nicholas Nordstrom, Paul Mills, and Alberto Briseno, all with Home Security Investigations, as well as Ashley Plowden, an investigator with the Federal Public Defender's office, and Sara Gardner, a professional Spanish language interpreter. Additionally, the following exhibit was admitted into evidence

Number

Description

Gov't #1

Search warrant

         On the basis of all the evidence adduced at the evidentiary hearing, the undersigned recommends denial of Molina-Lopez' motion and submits the following proposed findings of facts and proposed conclusions of law.

         PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. In April of 2017, Nicholas Nordstrom and Paul Mills were Special Agents with Home Land Security Investigations (“HSI”). Tr. at 4, 25-26.

         2. On April 11, 2017, HIS had received information that Molina-Lopez was selling methamphetamines in Kansas City, Missouri. Tr. at 5-6.

         3. SA Nordstrom also received information that Molina-Lopez was residing at 513 Drury Avenue in Kansas City. Tr. at 6.

         4. SA Nordstrom ran a computer check on Molina-Lopez' name and learned that there was an active arrest warrant for Molina-Lopez for possession of a controlled substance issued out of a Missouri state court. Tr. at 6.

         5. SA Nordstrom and some other HIS agents briefed some officers from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and set up surveillance of the residence on Drury Avenue. Tr. at 6.

         6. Shortly after initiating surveillance, officers observed a woman exit the residence with a child. Tr. at 7, 26.

         7. Two officers approached the woman as she was getting into her car while SA Nordstrom and SA Mills went to the front door of the Drury Avenue residence intending to conduct a knock-and-talk. Tr. at 7, 26.

         8. The door was answered by a woman (Susana Aguirre-Sanchez). Tr. at 7, 26-27, 33.

         9. The officers identified themselves, asked if Molina-Lopez lived at the house, and asked if Miss Aguirre-Sanchez would consent to a search of the residence. Tr. at 7-8.

         10. SA Nordstrom recognized that Miss Aguirre-Sanchez either did not understand English or was having ...


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