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United States v. McLayea

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 7, 2014

DANIEL McLAYEA, Defendant.


WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendant Daniel McLayea's motion to suppress (dkt. no. 35) and motion for a Franks hearing (dkt. no. 41). For the reasons explained herein, McLayea's motions are DENIED.


Beginning in April 2010, Detective Scott Wolfe of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Drug Task Force ("Metro Drug") began investigating McLayea after receiving information from a confidential informant that a person known as "Bean" was selling a large amount of marijuana. The informant also told Detective Wolfe that Bean drove a blue Dodge van. Detective Wolfe was later able to identify "Bean" as McLayea.

McLayea was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated in September 2010, and spent all of September and October 2010 in jail. While there, Detective Wolfe and DEA Special Agent Dan Schmidt monitored numerous phone calls McLayea made. Detective Wolfe and Special Agent Schmidt recognized some of those phone calls as coded conversations regarding future drug transactions. McLayea mentioned several storage units that he used, as well as the addresses for where they were located. Special Agent Schmidt thus obtained subpoenas to review the records at two storage units in Indianapolis, Indiana: U-Stor-It, located at 9685 Fall Creek Road ("the Fall Creek facility"), and The Store House, located at 2425 North Mitthoeffer Road ("the Mitthoeffer Road facility").

McLayea was released from jail in November 2010, and began a work release program through Marion County Community Corrections. Beginning on January 11, 2011, Detective Wolfe had a Global Positioning System ("GPS") device placed, without a warrant, on McLayea's blue Dodge van. This device was removed on January 23, 2011, and a new GPS device was placed on the same van on January 24, 2011. During these two weeks, Detective Wolfe monitored and tracked the van's movements. On January 25, 2011, Detective Wolfe was able to obtain the location of McLayea's van via the GPS device and began physical surveillance. He identified McLayea as the driver of the van while at a gas station and then followed the van to an apartment complex where he observed what he believed to be a narcotics transaction. Since he knew McLayea had a suspended driver's license, he requested a traffic stop.

Sargent Paul McDonald conducted a traffic stop of McLayea, at the request of Detective Wolfe. When he approached the van, he recognized the smell of marijuana. Sgt. McDonald, therefore, requested assistance from a narcotics K-9 unit. The unit conducted an open air sniff of the van and alerted. The van was subsequently searched, revealing 3.9 kilograms of a substance containing marijuana. McLayea was arrested, read his Miranda warnings, and transported to an interview location. Detective Wolfe interviewed him and obtained some personal information, including his home address of 10310 Kensil Street, Lawrence, Indiana; however, McLayea unequivocally said he did not wish to make a statement. In a search incident to his arrest, Detective Wolfe found business cards for the two storage unit facilities noted above, as well as a business card for a U-Stor facility located at 4055 East 56th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana ("the 56th Street facility"). He also found a receipt from that facility for Unit G3 belonging to Almedia[1] Phipps, a name Detective Wolfe had heard McLayea use in his jail cell phone conversations.

That same day, around 10:00 p.m., Metro Drug Detectives Randy Dings and Travis Cline went to McLayea's residence. McLayea's girlfriend, Brittany Nevers, answered the door. The detectives asked if they could enter the residence, and Nevers allowed the detectives to enter. While in the residence, the detectives observed what they believed to be a "blunt" or "marijuana cigarette" on the kitchen table. Detective Cline conducted a field test on the blunt, and it indicated a positive result for the presence of marijuana; however later testing of this blunt by a crime lab produced a negative result.

Detective Cline then requested permission to search the residence. Nevers told the detectives that if they did not have a search warrant, they should leave. The Detectives thus obtained a search warrant around 1:20 a.m., on January 26, 2011, and they searched the residence. Inside, they found $2, 000 and a pistol. They also found storage units receipts for the Mitthoeffer Road facility issued to Almedia Phipps, Unit 4018, and to McLayea, Unit 5019. Business cards for the Fall Creek and 56th Street facilities were also found.

On January 26, 2011, therefore, Detective Wolfe applied for a search warrant for the 56th Street facility to search Unit G3. The warrant was obtained and executed around 4:30 p.m., revealing a rifle, two handguns, scopes, ammunition, gun pamphlets, and $28, 970.

On July 24, 2012, a grand jury indicted McLayea for knowingly possessing a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and knowingly possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).


McLayea seeks to suppress the evidence obtained from the search of his van, the search of his person, the search of his residence, and the search of Unit G3. The ...

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