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United States v. Shores

United States District Court, D. Vermont

June 11, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DEAN SHORES

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS (Doc. 58)

          Christina Reiss, United States District Judge.

         Defendant Dean Shores is charged in a two-count Indictment with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute fifty or more grams of methamphetamine, and knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and 841(b)(1)(B). Pending before the court is Defendant's motion to suppress the statements he made following his arrest. (Doc. 58.) The government opposes the motion. On May 10, 2019, the court held an evidentiary hearing at which Burlington Police Department ("BPD") Task Force Officer ("TFO") Dwayne Mellis and Emily Furman[1] testified.

         Defendant is represented by Heather E. Ross, Esq. and Michael J. Leddy, Esq. The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Ophardt and Andrew C. Gilman.

         I. Findings of Fact.

         Since January of 2009, TFO Mellis has worked for BPD and has been assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") since July of 2015. As a TFO, he investigates illegal narcotics possession and distribution and related crimes, including money laundering and human trafficking. Prior to joining BPD's narcotics unit, he was a member of its street crimes unit. In May of 2017, he was a detective corporal in BPD's narcotics unit.

         On or about May 4, 2017, a confidential informant ("CI") reported to BPD Officer Ethan Czyzewski that a man the CI knew as "Dean" was selling blue pills believed to be oxycodone. TFO Mellis and Officer Czyzewski agreed to recommend leniency for the CI on two pending drug charges in exchange for the CI's assistance with a controlled purchase from Dean. Thereafter, the CI negotiated a purchase of 500 "blue pills" from Dean for which law enforcement provided the $3, 750 purchase price.

         Prior to the controlled buy, the CI was searched and outfitted with a transmitting device. He was then escorted to 150 West Canal Street, suite number two, where Dean owned a business. Law enforcement surveilled the area and watched the CI enter the business. After approximately fifteen minutes, the CI exited and was escorted to a predetermined location to meet with Officer Czyzewski and TFO Mellis where the CI turned over 496 blue pills. The CI was searched, and no other contraband was found. Laboratory testing subsequently revealed the blue pills contained fentanyl. The CI identified the man he knew as Dean from a photograph and confirmed he had engaged in the controlled purchase with him. Law enforcement determined that Defendant was Dean and that his driver's license was criminally suspended.

         Following the controlled purchase, in the early morning hours of May 5, 2017, law enforcement officers who were surveilling the area observed Defendant leaving the business at 150 West Canal Street in a vehicle which he drove to the downtown area of Winooski where he was stopped by law enforcement and arrested. During a search incident to arrest, law enforcement officers found on Defendant's person United States currency used in the controlled buy, Adderall pills, and approximately thirty-one grams of a substance suspected to be methamphetamine. Laboratory testing subsequently confirmed the substance contained methamphetamine. Defendant was transported to the BPD and placed in a holding cell.

         At approximately 2:27 a.m., TFO Mellis and Officer Czyzewski began interviewing the Defendant. Officer Czyzewski read Defendant his Miranda rights as follows:

Officer Czyzewski: Okay, alright, so all I need you to do is "yes" or "no" and if you need me to explain something, feel free to ask and, and I'll explain anything else. Okay?
Defendant: Yep.
Officer Czyzewski: Alright. Um, you have the right to remain silent. Do you understand?
Defendant: Yes, I do.
Officer Czyzewski: Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
Defendant: I do.
Officer Czyzewski: Yes?
Defendant: Yes sir, sorry.
Officer Czyzewski: You have the right to be represented and talk to a lawyer before questioning and to have a lawyer present with you during questioning. Do you understand?
Defendant: Yes sir.
Officer Czyzewski: If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you at public expense before any questioning, if you wish. In Vermont this is called a public defender. Do you understand?
Defendant: Yes sir.
Officer Czyzewski: If you decide to answer questions, you may stop the questioning at any time. Do you understand?
Defendant: Yes sir.
Officer Czyzewski: Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?
Defendant: I do, sir.
Officer Czyzewski: Do you want to be represented by a lawyer or have one present with you during questioning?
Defendant: Is that what we're doing next?
Officer Czyzewski: So right now, I'd like to-to talk to you and ask you some questions. Um, if you'd like a lawyer present with you during those questions that I ask you right now, um, that's your right, but if that's the case, then I-I'm not going to ask you any questions, we're going to put you in the cell, finish my paperwork, and bring you down to jail.
Defendant: Mmhmm.
Officer Czyzewski: Uh, if you want to talk to me now, that's up to you, that's a hundred percent your right, I-I can't force you, I can't twist your arm, can't do anything like that, that's just a decision that you're going to have to make on your own, whether or not you want to answer these questions or not. Um[.]
Defendant: Either way I'm being brought to jail.
Officer Czyzewski: What's that?
Defendant: Either way I'm being brought ...

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