United States District Court, D. Vermont
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS STATEMENTS (Doc.
Christina Reiss, District United States District Judge.
Susan Mateo is charged with conspiracy to distribute
controlled substances (heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone) in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a), 841(b)(1)(B),
841(b)(1)(C), and 846, distribution of controlled substances
in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and
841(b)(1)(C), and a money laundering conspiracy in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). (Doc. 75.)
before the court is Defendant's motion to suppress
statements made in a January 23, 2018 interview with two Drug
Enforcement Agency ("DEA") agents. (Doc. 89.) The
government opposes the motion. The court held an evidentiary
hearing on April 19, 2019 at which Samantha Foss and DEA
Agents Christopher Paquette and Brandon Hope testified. On
May 10, 2019, the parties filed post-hearing memoranda, at
which time the court took the pending motion under
is represented by Maryanne E. Kampmann, Esq. The government
is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan
Ophardt and Spencer Willig.
Findings of Fact.
court incorporates its findings of fact set forth in its May
30, 2019 Opinion and Order Denying Defendant's Motion to
Suppress Audio Recordings and Motion for a Bill of
Particulars (Doc. 114) wherein it found, among other things,
that in September 2017 through January 2018, the DEA and the
Morristown Police Department entered into an agreement with a
confidential information ("CI") to engage in a
series of controlled buys. Pursuant to that agreement, the CI
voluntarily agreed to record her telephone conversations with
and purchases from Defendant and her mother Esperanza
"Hope" Delarosa in exchange for monetary
compensation and consideration with regard to potential
felony and misdemeanor charges.
January 23, 2018, Defendant was arrested and transported to
the Stowe Police Station where she was placed in a holding
cell before being escorted to an interview room where she was
seated at a table with DEA Diversion Investigator Christopher
Paquette and DEA Task Force Officer ("TFO") Robert
Sylvia. At the time of the interview, the DEA Agents were in
possession of Defendant's cell phone which had been
seized from her upon her arrest. The DEA Agents'
interview with Defendant was audio and digitally recorded and
is reflected in a stipulated transcript introduced into
evidence as Gov't Ex.3.
to administering Miranda warnings, TFO Sylvia
introduced himself and DEA Agent Paquette as follows:
So my name is Rob, and this is Chris. We both work for the
DEA, we're both Federal Agents for the DEA. Um, so I want
to try to get this processed tonight, we have to do a couple
of things. I told you, you're, you are not the only one
that's being dealt with tonight, either here or
elsewhere, including other states[.] . .. Okay. Including,
they're doing a federal search warrant up at your house
in Morrisville, at least that's here in Vermont, okay. So
they're, they're dealing with the kids, they're
going to be taken care of. There is two guys there, you know,
we're going to treat them just like we treat you, with
respect. But we're going to do our business and we'll
go from there.
Gov't Ex. 3 at 1-2.
asked to speak to her children and was told that it was
possible that arrangements could be made so that she could do
so at the end of the night. When Defendant suggested her
mother as a person who would be available to take care of her
the children, TFO Sylvia responded as follows:
Or if the guys there have something outlandish that's
going to have to cause us to do something about it.
They'll make arrangements, but, at, when we're done
here, you'll know what's going to happen with them,
or where they're going, or whether or not... I would have
to talk to my big boss to decide if you would be able to talk
to them. Um, but I want to just make sure that we're
clear about this, I don't want to hold, we're not
holding that over your head. Whether you decide to talk with
us, or we have a conversation, and what happens with your
kids, I want to make sure that we keep that separate because
I want you to talk to me, but I don't want you to think
that you have to talk to me because it has anything to do
with your kids tonight. We, we clear about that?
Id. at 2. Defendant nodded her assent. Thereafter,
TFO Sylvia spoke to Defendant as follows:
Okay. I just want to make sure I'm not, we're not
holding that over your head. That's not how we work,
okay? So I've already told you we're federal agents
and you have a federal arrest warrant for you. Meaning, what
that means is a federal judge has listened to or read what
we've learned about you, your mom, and some other folks,
and agreed that we have enough to arrest you. And to search
your house. And really the reason is, is because you guys are
selling drugs. Now hold on to that for a second. So the judge
has given us permission to arrest you and to search your
place, and to do some other things elsewhere. That's a
big deal because not everybody gets arrested by the DEA.
Cause we're not the NYPD. We're not the State Police
okay. We're talking, it's a very serious set of
crimes that you're involved in. Um, what I also want to
make clear, is the difference between the local police, and
us. You know the NYPD or us, if you were to lie to us, if you
were to lie to the NYPD you know, because you were drinking a
beer on your door step, if you lie to them, it just hurts
their feelings and they go home at the end of their shift. If
you were to lie to us, it's actually a federal offense,
okay. It's another crime, okay. It could be consider[ed]
a crime when you lie to a federal agent, alright. Do you know
Martha Stewart, the lady on TV? She went to federal prison,
do you know why she went to federal prison? Because she lied
to the FBI. So if basket weaving market Martha Stewart can go
to jail, um, it's pretty reasonable to think that you
know, when people lie to the government they could get in
trouble for it. Does that make sense? Alright. So that's
what, I just want to be fair. Because you have a chance to
have a conversation with us. So we want to, we're going
to get your fingerprints, we're going to ask you some
information. Some of which we know, you know, your
biographical, your height, your weight, where you live, what
you do for work, those type of things. So we need to ask you
those things, we want to talk to you. In order to do that we
have to read you your rights. Have you ever had your rights
read to you before?
Id. at 2-3.
responded that she had not previously been provided
Miranda warnings and, in response to TFO
Sylvia's questions, confirmed she had not been arrested
previously, had not seen Miranda warnings provided
on television, and did not know her Miranda rights.
In response to TFO Sylvia's inquiry, Defendant indicated
that she did not need her rights to be provided in Spanish
and could understand them in English. At that point, the
Agents and Defendant engaged in the following colloquy:
TFO Sylvia: Okay, alright. So what I'm going to do is,
I'm going to read through this form, I'm going to
check a couple of boxes as I go. I'm going to ask you to
look at it, I'm going to ask if you have any questions
about it, because I want to talk to you. Does that, does that
make any sense?
Defendant: (Nods head yes).
TFO Sylvia: Alright. So here's what we're going to do
so we can get that stuff done. Um, you have the right to
remain silent. You don't have to say anything. Anything
you say could be used in the future court ([audio] cuts out)
a lawyer before questioning. You have the right to have a
lawyer with you during questioning. If you can't afford a
lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any
questioning, if you wish. And in this case it would need to
be a lawyer that can represent you in federal
court. Okay? Do you understand that?
Defendant: (Nods head yes).
TFO Sylvia: Do you have any questions about any of it? Any of
these things right here? Do you understand it clearly? Um,
are you willing to answer some of the questions? Can we talk
Defendant: Can I talk to somebody?
TFO Sylvia: I mean, are you talking like your kids, your mom,
or . ..
Defendant: Like a lawyer or something.
TFO Sylvia: Do you wanna, okay. Do you wanna talk to a lawyer
before you talk to us?
Defendant: (Nods head yes).
TFO Sylvia: Okay, fair enough. Time?
DEA Agent Paquette: Nine-thirty.
TFO Sylvia: Alright. What we're going to do is, at a
minimum at least, I got to get your biographical information,
Defendant: (Nods head yes).
TFO Sylvia: Um, so we'll go through that. Because you
wanted to talk to a lawyer, I'm not going to ask any
questions about some of the stuff we're interested in,
unfortunately. But those are the rules, so we're not
going to do that. But I am going to ask you just your
biographical stuff, because we need to get that. And then
what's going to happen tonight, once we're done
getting your information, we're going to take your
fingerprints. And from here, you're going to go up to
Burlington. And, there you're going to go to the local
jail up there in South Burlington.
Defendant: Am I going to be able to (inaudible).
TFO Sylvia: You're, you, you're going to jail tonight
no matter what.
DEA Agent Paquette: Yeah, I don't know if the, I
don't know if the boss will allow that or not. That's
something that, like Rob said, it um, on the onset of this,
something we have to check with him on. If not, we're not
one hundred percent sure.
TFO Sylvia: And no offense, those are things you go[t] to
think of when you get involved in this type of thing. Okay?
That's, those are the things you got to think of. Um, so
you're going to go to jail there tonight, overnight, with
a federal arrest warrant. There is no bail. So you'll
beheld without bail, until the morning.
Id. at 4-6.
Sylvia proceeded to describe to Defendant the proceedings
that would take place the following morning at federal court.
He then asked Defendant's name; date of birth; social
security number; city of birth; U.S. citizenship; hair color;
height; color of eyes; weight; whether she had birthmarks,
piercing, or tattoos; her address; home and cell phone
numbers; whether and where she was employed and in what
position; and her employer's telephone number. He further
inquired about her driver's license and passport and
whether they would be found in her vehicle.
Sylvia confirmed Defendant's mother's name and asked
the names of each of her three siblings as well as their
ages, where they lived, their dates of birth, and their
telephone numbers. DEA Agent Paquette interrupted to ask if
"[e] very one just uses their cell phones?"
Id. at 11. TFO Sylvia asked the ages of
Defendant's children and the identity of the men who were
taking care of them at Defendant's home. Defendant
identified the men as her brother and the children's
father and asked whether the children could stay with their
father. TFO Sylvia responded as follows:
TFO Sylvia: As I know right now, yes. But I don't know
what he, if he's done anything. What they found there,
the circumstances. So I'm, you know, I don't want to
lie to you.
Defendant: He's never lived there.
TFO Sylvia: Well, then, but he's their father, so. I
just, it doesn't matter. You know, whatever is there
could, he could be responsible for that. I don't know