United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY JUDGE.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the
District Court, are motions to suppress filed by Defendants
Thomas Goodin [doc. # 52] and Brittany Gix [doc. # 53]. For
reasons explained below, it is recommended that the motions
October 5, 2017, at approximately 7:30 a.m., agents with
Metro Narcotics and MPD were inspecting packages at the
FedEx located at 1111 Oliver Road, Monroe, Louisiana. (Tr.
65). As Agent Nicolas Oglesby watched packages being
offloaded from a truck onto a conveyer belt, he observed one
package (the “GIX package”) that he found
suspicious because it was in a box that had been reshaped to
fit what was inside and was taped on all seams. He pulled the
package off the conveyer belt for additional inspection. He
observed the package was set for overnight delivery, and
therefore likely expensive to ship, and it was coming from
California, a source state for drugs, which indicated
possible contraband in the package. (Tr. 79-82). The package
was shipped in a brown box with FedEx tracking number 7879
6700 6828 and measured 19x7x7 inches. It was shipped from
Tyrone Gix in Loma Linda, CA and was set to be delivered to
Jordyn Gix at 912 Riverside Drive Apt. 37 in Monroe, LA,
71201. (Gov. Ex. 1, [doc. # 87-1]). Agent Oglesby ran the
names Tyrone Gix and Jordyn Gix through a police database but
was unable to verify whether they were real people. (Tr.
Oglesby handed the package off for Officer Jason Hendrix and
his narcotics certified K-9, Buck, to conduct an outer air
sniff of the package. (Tr. 82-83). Buck alerted positively to
the presence of narcotics. Agent Oglesby was not present for
the sniff but was notified of the positive alert, which
established probable cause to search the package. (Tr. 84,
103). He brought the package back to MPD and applied for and
obtained a search warrant. When he opened the package, Agent
Oglesby found a box wrapped in red birthday paper. The box
contained several items, including a makeup bag. Inside the
makeup bag was a taped, vacuum sealed package that weighed
approximately 542 grams. The package was opened and field
tested, and it tested positive for methamphetamine. (Gov.
Exs. 2, 4, [docs. # 87-2, 87-4]).
finding the methamphetamine, Metro Narcotics agents rewrapped
the package to conduct a controlled delivery to 912 Riverside
Drive Apt. 37. Agent Oglesby also applied for and obtained an
anticipatory search warrant for the same address. (Tr. 110;
Gov. Ex. 4). At approximately 3:40 p.m., Agent Scott Sadler
dressed as a delivery man and placed the package at the door.
(Tr. 111); [doc. # 82 at 3]. Prior to Agent Sadler walking
away from the apartment, a black female, later identified as
Brittany Gix, picked up the package and brought it inside the
apartment. [doc. # 82 at 3].
while later, a gold Ford Expedition pulled up to the front of
apartment. (Id.) A black male, later identified as
Meko Walker, got out and went inside the apartment. When he
came out, he was carrying the red birthday paper wrapped box
inside a plastic Wal-Mart bag. Agents stopped and arrested
Walker and secured the apartment. Agent Oglesby entered the
apartment, advised Gix of her rights, and requested that she
accompany him to Metro Narcotics for questioning. (Tr.
Gix, Metro Narcotics obtained evidence that Thomas Goodin was
the person who shipped the package from California. (Tr. 114;
see Gov. Ex. 3, [doc. #87-3]). DEA Special Agent Vic
Zordan contacted FedEx in San Bernardino, CA and obtained
still photographs taken from in-store surveillance video on
October 4, 2017. The photographs depict a person entering the
store with a box wrapped in red birthday paper. He
purportedly pays to ship the package and leaves the store
empty-handed. Agent Oglesby identified the person as Goodin
based on selfies Goodin texted to Gix on October 4, 2017. The
outfit Goodin wore in the FedEx store appeared to be the same
outfit Goodin wore in the selfies. An employee at the San
Bernardino FedEx also provided a description that matched
Goodin. (Tr. 114-15).
relation to this incident, Goodin, Gix, and Walker were
charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to
possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846. Gix and
Walker were also charged with attempted possession with
intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1)-(2), 846. [doc. # 1].
October 19, 2018, Defendants Goodin and Gix filed motions to
suppress the FedEx evidence, claiming the contraband was
seized pursuant to a defective warrant. [docs. # 52, 53]. On
December 21, 2018, Goodin filed a supplemental memorandum in
support of his motion to suppress. [doc. # 72].
March 1, 2019, the Government filed its response claiming (1)
Defendants have no standing to contest the search of the
FedEx package that did not contain either of their names; (2)
officers had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to
detain the package for investigative purposes; (3) the
K-9's positive alert to narcotics established probable
cause to search the package; and (4) officers relied in good
faith on the warrant in searching the package. [doc. # 82].
and Gix filed replies on March 5, 2019. [docs. # 84, 85].
suppression hearing took place on March 6, 2019 and April 1,
2019, with testimony from William Scott Smith,  Sandra Walker,
Agent Oglesby, Officer Hendrix, and Detective Kwasic
Heckard. Defendants ...