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United States v. Baires

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

January 11, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RODOLFO BAIRES (01)

          HICKS JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          MARK L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Introduction; Factual Background

         Rodolfo Baires (“Defendant”) is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Defendant was brought to the attention of the DEA through a cooperating source (“CS”), whose identity is now known to Defendant, but who will be referred to herein simply as the CS.

         According to the Government, the CS provided information regarding a source of supply of methamphetamine, known as “Seiko, ” in Las Vegas Nevada. The CS told the Government that a large shipment of the drugs was to be delivered to Northwest Louisiana by James Logan (“Logan”), a courier for Seiko. Logan is a co-defendant in this case who has pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge (Doc. 11, Count 1) and is awaiting sentencing.

         Logan was stopped for a traffic violation as he entered Louisiana, and a large quantity of drugs were discovered during a search of his vehicle. Following the traffic stop on Logan, the CS and Seiko spoke by phone regarding Logan's location. Eventually, the Government obtained a search warrant for location information regarding Seiko's phone. GPS or other location data for Seiko's phone pointed to a Las Vegas residence previously associated with Defendant. Agents located a photograph of Defendant from a prior case and showed that photograph to the CS, who recognized the photograph as Seiko. Defendant was subsequently arrested and charged.

         Motions Before the Court

         Before the court are the Government's Motion to Quash Subpoenas (Doc. 78) and Defendant's Sealed Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 85). The discovery dispute arises out of the DEA investigative file on the CS.

         On July 24, 2018, Defendant had subpoenas served to the Shreveport Police Department and Bossier City Police Department commanding them to produce (1) all expense reports for TFO officers Tim Wynn and Rick Anderson for trips to Las Vegas made in relation to a drug trafficking investigation involving the CS, (2) the complete arrest record for the CS, (3) the search warrant for the home of the CS, and (4) all offense reports in which the CS was either a suspect, complainant, or witness. The Government filed its motion to quash the subpoenas, arguing that the subpoenas were a “fishing expedition” and an attempt to obtain the documents without allowing the Government to object based on relevancy and admissibility.

         On August 8, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to compel, which sought the documents and evidence listed in the subpoena, as well as several other items. Defendant asserts that the evidence sought is relevant to impeach the CS, to establish an alternate source of the drugs, and to make an argument that the affidavit in support of Defendant's arrest should be revised pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 98 S.Ct. 2674 (1978). Defendant suggests that the CS identified Defendant from the photograph to deflect police attention to the CS's true source of narcotics. Defendant argues that the various police records documenting the CS's criminal history, including the facts of those other cases, are relevant to establish alternate suspects, impeachment, and the propriety of the police methods of investigation and identification in this case.

         Analysis

         The court has conducted an extensive in camera review of the DEA's file on the CS. Based on that review and on applicable law, the motions are granted in part and denied in part as follows:

         1. CS Records

         Defendant seeks to compel discovery of all police files and records on the CS. According to Defendant, he was arrested after the CS identified him to law enforcement. He therefore asserts that all the records on the CS are necessary because the CS's credibility is in question. The Government objects to Defendant seeking “every police report that includes [the CS]'s name” because it is “an unrealistic request” that does not comport with the rules of discovery. Nonetheless, the Government asserts that it has provided all evidence from the CS's file that is relevant to this case and has only withheld a cooperating individual file in an unrelated arrest and the arrest of a target in an ...


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