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United States v. Hansmeier

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 14, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Chad Hansmeier, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued May 16, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 15-cr-30024 - Sue E. Myerscough, Judge.

          Before Bauer, Flaum, and Kanne, Circuit Judges.

          Kanne, Circuit Judge.

         Police officers searched Chad Hans-meier's home based on a search warrant and found various drug-dealing paraphernalia. He was arrested and charged. After the district court denied Hansmeier's motions to suppress the evidence of the search, he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana, while reserving the right to appeal the court's denial of his motions to suppress.

         On appeal, Hansmeier argues that the evidence must be suppressed because the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant did not establish probable cause and contained material falsehoods and omissions. We disagree and affirm.

         I. Background

         Illinois law-enforcement officers arrested Jason Walker after making two controlled buys of methamphetamine from him. During an interview the night of his arrest, Walker told West Central Illinois Agent Nicholas Hiland that Hansmeier was his drug source; that Hansmeier lived in Missouri; and that Hansmeier dealt large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.

         At about 1:15 in the morning, after Walker was arrested, Agent Hiland called Special Agent Michael Murphy of the Northeast Missouri Narcotics Task Force. Agent Murphy and Agent Austin Snow (another member of the Task Force) then drove to Illinois to talk to Walker. They were familiar with Hansmeier and were interested in any information that Walker could give them.

         Walker told Agent Murphy and Agent Snow that he had bought large quantities of methamphetamine from Hansmeier over the past several months. Walker agreed to show the agents where Hansmeier lived and successfully directed the officers to Hansmeier's house. The agents then dropped off Walker back at the Illinois police station and returned to their offices in Missouri.

         There, Agent Murphy continued his investigation by running background checks on Walker and Hansmeier on a website called case.net. Although case.net provides only a "snapshot" of a person's criminal history, Agent Murphy learned that both men were on parole and that Hansmeier had several criminal convictions, including one for a drug-distribution-related offense.

         Agent Murphy then began drafting an affidavit in support of a no-knock search warrant for Hansmeier's house, relying heavily on the information that Walker had provided. In the affidavit, Agent Murphy included the following facts:

• Walker had directed the agents to Hansmeier's house;
• Walker had been to Hansmeier's house eighteen times over the previous six months and had been buying methamphetamine from Hansmeier for several months;
• Walker had been buying four ounces of methamphetamine from Hansmeier at least once and usually twice a week and had bought methamphetamine from Hansmeier just a few days earlier;
• Walker knew the prices that Hansmeier charged, including that Hansmeier would occasionally front the drugs;
• Hansmeier kept a supply of methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin in his house and always had ...

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