United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Sevon Thomas'
(“Thomas”) Motion to Find Unconstitutional the
Stop, Seizure, Search and Arrest of Sevon Thomas and to
Subsequently Suppress the Fruits of the Poisonous Tree,
(Filing No. 60). Thomas is charged with violating 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A), possession
with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i), possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The jury trial in
this matter is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 14,
2019. Thomas asserts the challenged stop, seizure and search
of his person violated his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, justifying suppression of the
evidence. For the following reasons, Thomas' motion is
FINDINGS OF FACT
asked the Court to conduct an evidentiary hearing pursuant to
Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and
thereafter suppress the illegally obtained evidence. However,
Thomas is not entitled to a hearing on his Motion to Suppress
because a hearing is not required unless the movant
demonstrates a significant factual dispute that must be
resolved. United States v. Sophie, 900 F.2d 1064,
1071 (7th Cir. 1990); see also United States v.
Moreland, 703 F.3d 976, 981-82 (7th Cir. 2012)
(defendants' request for evidentiary hearing
“properly refused because they were unable to specify
any assertion in the government's affidavits that they
could contest with evidence”). Thomas raised no
disputed issues of material fact and has not challenged the
accuracy of the information articulated by law enforcement.
There are no factual disputes to be resolved regarding the
Motion to Suppress, so no evidentiary hearing is necessary.
20, 2017, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of an
individual (“CHS1”) and located crystal
methamphetamine in CHS1's vehicle. CHS1 admitted to being
involved in distributing methamphetamine in Southern Indiana.
CHS1 further admitted to having three drug suppliers for
multiple ounces of methamphetamine and identified Thomas as
one of those sources.
time of CHS1's traffic stop, a second individual
(“CHS2”) was in the vehicle with CHS1. CHS2 also
admitted to being involved in distributing methamphetamine in
Southern Indiana. CHS2 corroborated CHS1's statement
regarding three drug suppliers for multiple ounces of
methamphetamine, including Thomas as one of those sources.
CHS2 reported being present on at least five occasions during
the previous six-month period where Thomas delivered multiple
ounce quantities of methamphetamine to CHS1. CHS2 described
Thomas and stated that Thomas drove a black Chevrolet Impala
with Kentucky license plates when he delivered
methamphetamine to CHS1 and CHS2. CHS2 also reported that
Thomas delivered methamphetamine to CHS2 and CHS1 at
locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and in Southern Indiana.
that same day-July 20, 2017-under the direction and
supervision of law enforcement, CHS1 called Thomas on his
cell phone and arranged to purchase approximately six ounces
of methamphetamine at a location in Georgetown, Indiana. The
phone call was recorded. Thomas agreed to provide CHS1
approximately six ounces of methamphetamine, and he would
deliver the methamphetamine to CHS1 at a McDonald's in
Georgetown, Indiana, if CHS1 could get transportation to that
location. CHS1 then placed a second recorded telephone call
to Thomas' cell phone to confirm the meeting location.
Thomas again answered the phone, and they agreed to meet at
the McDonald's in Georgetown in approximately thirty
minutes. They agreed that Thomas would charge CHS1 $450.00
per ounce for the methamphetamine.
enforcement officers began surveillance near the
McDonald's in Georgetown. Law enforcement and CHS1 were
in a vehicle together, and they observed the scene from a
distance so that CHS1 could identify Thomas' vehicle for
law enforcement when it arrived. CHS1 and CHS2 had reported
earlier that Thomas' vehicle was a black Chevrolet Impala
with Kentucky license plates. During the surveillance,
officers observed a black Chevrolet Impala in the drive-thru
lane at the McDonald's. CHS1 positively identified Thomas
in the vehicle as the individual who would be bringing the
methamphetamine. The law enforcement officers then conducted
an investigative stop on Thomas' vehicle and detained
Thomas at the McDonald's for further investigation.
Thomas was placed inside a Harrison County Sherriff's
vehicle and transported across the street to an adjacent
officer conducted a systematic search of Thomas' car with
K-9 “Bob, ” a certified narcotic detection dog.
During the search, “Bob” indicated on both the
front and rear door seams of Thomas' vehicle. After the
positive alert, “Bob” was released inside the
vehicle. During the K-9 search of the interior of the
vehicle, “Bob” indicated to presence of a
controlled substance inside the vehicle on the passenger side
floorboard area and on the driver side door panel. After the
positive K-9 alert, law enforcement officers searched
Thomas' vehicle. During the interior search of the
vehicle when an officer opened the glovebox, white latex
gloves containing three clear plastic baggies containing a
crystal-like substance suspected to be methamphetamine and
two firearms fell from the glovebox onto the floorboard of
the vehicle. Thomas was arrested following the search and
seizure of the drugs and firearms. Thereafter, he was
indicted on August 16, 2017 by a federal grand jury for Count
One, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and
Count Two, Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug
Trafficking Crime. (Filing No. 12.) On December 21,
2018 a Superseding Indictment was filed. (Filing No.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
moves to suppress all evidence recovered by the Government
following the illegal stop, seizure, arrest, and search of
his person at the restaurant in Georgetown, Indiana.
The initial stop of the defendant by Indiana State Police on
06.20.17 was illegal because there was no reasonable
suspicion, probable cause, or judicial warrant to detain,
seize, arrest or search him. The defendant at the time was
traveling in a 2013 black Chevrolet Impala. Following the
illegal stop, seizure, search and arrest of Mr. Thomas,
agents of the government now seek to introduce into evidence
two (2) handguns (Ruger, Model P90DC, Serial Number: ...