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United States v. Bacon

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

September 19, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SHAWN BACON

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE

         The Defendant, Shawn Bacon, is charged in a ten-count Indictment with numerous drug and firearms-related offenses for conduct occurring between November and December 2017. This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Suppress [ECF No. 29], filed by the Defendant on May 10, 2018. The Defendant seeks to suppress all evidence confiscated during the December 20, 2017, search of his residence on High Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The home was searched pursuant to a search warrant, but the Defendant maintains that the warrant should not have been issued because the supporting affidavit was insufficient on its face to establish probable cause to believe that the evidence sought would be found at the residence.

         The Government maintains that a practical, common sense reading of the affidavit established probable cause to issue the search warrant for the High Street residence. Alternatively, if the Court reaches a different conclusion regarding the existence of probable cause, the Government submits that the fruits of the search would be admissible because the officers acted in good faith in executing the search warrant.

         SEARCH WARRANT AFFIDAVIT

         On December 20, 2017, officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) obtained a warrant to search a residence located at a particular address on High Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana. FWPD Detective Craig Wise completed the Search Warrant Affidavit. In support of his assertions that there was probable cause to believe that the residence would contain evidence of drug activity, Detective Wise described two tips provided to Fort Wayne Vice and Narcotics.

         The first tip, received on November 2, 2017, was that Shawn Bacon, who lived at the particular residence on High Street, had been arrested for selling cocaine from his residence in the past, and had twice before almost caused the tipster's brother to die by overdose by supplying him with heroin. The caller described the two vehicles Bacon used to deliver narcotics: a Silver Chevrolet Impala and a Black Chevrolet Impala. Detective Wise stated that he confirmed throughout his investigation that Shawn Bacon entered and exited the reported address and drove the described vehicles. A records check of the license plate on the Silver Impala returned as belonging to a person named Shawn Bacon who lived at the High Street address.

         Detective Wise stated that the second tip, received on November 13, 2017, was that Shawn Bacon, who resided at the High Street address in the upstairs apartment, was selling large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine to his addict friends. The tipster stated that Bacon was a convicted felon, and had multiple guns throughout the residence.

         Next, Detective Wise provided information on the two controlled buys he supervised to corroborate that the Defendant was engaged in illegal drug trafficking from the High Street residence. Detective Wise stated that he met with a confidential informant, identified in the affidavit as CI 2196, on November 16, 2017. Detective Wise indicated that he had independently verified CI 2196's credibility and reliability in the current investigation, as well as during the course of other ongoing investigations. CI 2196 told Detective Wise that an acquaintance[1] of CI 2196 could purchase heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and guns from Shawn Bacon, who the CI knew lived in the upstairs apartment of the High Street residence. CI 2196 indicated that Bacon had numerous guns, large amounts of drugs, and possibly bombs in the apartment. Detective Wise and CI 2196 made arrangements for the acquaintance to bring CI 2196 to the residence to purchase $100 worth of cocaine.

         CI 2196 was searched and found to have no contraband. He was fitted with an electronic transmitting device and given $100 of previously photocopied money. Shortly thereafter, Detective Wise and CI 2196 made contact with the acquaintance to advise that they would be coming to his house so the acquaintance could take CI 2196 to go purchase cocaine. When Detective Wise and CI 2196 arrived at the residence, CI 2196 contacted the acquaintance to come out and meet by the acquaintance's car so they could drive to get the cocaine.

         Less than ten minutes later, Detective Wise observed the acquaintance exit the rear of the apartment and go to a blue Impala that he and CI 2196 both entered. They began driving to the High Street residence with surveillance units following. Once there, CI 2196 handed the money to his passenger, stating he could keep $20.00 for his services. Detective Chambers observed the acquaintance exit the car and walk to the entrance of the upstairs apartment and go inside.

         About fifteen minutes later, the acquaintance exited the apartment door and walked back to the vehicle where he handed CI 2196 a plastic baggie. He explained that Bacon weighed it to be about 1.5 grams. The acquaintance also stated that Bacon had numerous weapons inside the residence and all over the apartment. CI 2196 and his acquaintance drove back to Wells Street, where CI 2196 asked to be dropped off at the gas station near the corner of Spring and Wells Streets. When CI 2196 was let out of the vehicle, he walked directly around the gas station building to Detective Wise's vehicle. CI 2196 immediately handed Detective Wise the suspected cocaine, which a later performed test revealed was positive for cocaine with a gross weight of 1.7 grams.

         CI 2196 and Detective Wise then returned to the Fort Wayne Vice and Narcotics office. Once there, a search of CI 2196 revealed no contraband. Additionally, CI 2196 identified the acquaintance from a photograph array as the person who took him to Shawn Bacon's residence and obtained the crack cocaine for him. He recounted the acquaintance's description of the firearms, knives, and homemade bombs located throughout the apartment.

         On December 7, 2017, Detective Wise met with a different CI, identified in the affidavit as CI 2198. Detective Wise knew CI 2198 to be reliable and credible from his independent verification of information CI 2198 provided in the investigation, as well as in other ongoing investigations. CI 2198 stated that she had made arrangements to purchase $200 of cocaine. As with the other controlled buy, CI 2198 was searched, outfitted with a recording device, and provided money. Several individuals were involved in the events leading up to this controlled buy.[2] An undercover agent accompanied CI 2198 as they waited to make a drug purchase from a third individual (who the Court will refer to as the Seller). At the same time, Detective Wise observed that a fourth person appeared to be waiting for the arrival of the Seller. As soon as the Seller arrived, CI 2198 and the undercover agent, as well as the fourth person, approached the Seller. After a brief exchange, the fourth person went into the garage area. CI 2198 and the undercover agent then handed the Seller the $200. The Seller explained that he had to go a couple houses down to get the drugs, but first needed to use the restroom in his own house. While he was still inside, CI 2198 called and relayed that her companion (the undercover agent) also wanted to buy some meth. When the Seller came back outside, he discussed the order with the CI and the undercover agent, and was given an additional $60.00. Surveillance officers watched the Seller walk down a nearby alley toward Bacon's High Street residence and enter his front door.

         About seven minutes later, the Seller left the High Street residence. At all times when he was not inside the residence, he was either observed by surveillance or the CI and undercover agent. The Seller walked back toward the car, and motioned CI 2198 to come inside the Seller's residence. CI 2198 observed the Seller break up and weigh the cocaine, before placing it in a plastic baggie that he handed to the CI. The Seller also handed CI 2198 a baggie of methamphetamine. CI 2198 exited the residence and returned ...


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