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United States v. Price

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

October 18, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Mark Price, Defendant.

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         Presently pending before the Court is Defendant Mark Price's Motion to Suppress Evidence. [Filing No. 40.] Mr. Price has been indicted for one count of unlawful possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, [Filing No. 43], and the trial in this matter is set for February 18, 2020, [Filing No. 56 at 2]. Mr. Price seeks to suppress evidence obtained after what he contends were unlawful searches and seizures in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. [Filing No. 40.] The Motion to Suppress is now ripe for the Court's review. For the reasons detailed herein, the Court DENIES Mr. Price's Motion to Suppress and his request for a hearing on the matter.[1]

         I.

         Background [2]

         On October 10, 2018, Mr. Price visited Indy Trading Post, a firearms and ammunition dealer, and placed a special order for a magazine of ammunition, stating that he wanted to use the shooting range once the order came in. [Filing No. 2 at 3.] After viewing Mr. Price's identification, staff at Indy Trading Post conducted an online public records search and discovered that Mr. Price had previous felony convictions. [Filing No. 2 at 3.] The staff then contacted Special Agent Brian Clancy of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”). [Filing No. 2 at 3.]

         On October 16, 2018, Mr. Price returned to Indy Trading Post, accompanied by a female companion. [Filing No. 2 at 3.] He told the staff that he wanted to pick up the magazine that he had ordered and purchase additional .40 caliber ammunition. [Filing No. 2 at 3.] A store clerk showed Mr. Price a box of .40 caliber ammunition, and Mr. Price took possession of the box and opened it to view the live rounds inside. [Filing No. 2 at 3.] Mr. Price then purchased the .40 caliber ammunition and a holster for his female companion and exited the store with the .40 caliber ammunition and the magazine he had ordered. [Filing No. 2 at 3-4.]

         The following day, Mr. Price contacted Indy Trading Post and asked about using the firing range, and the staff contacted Agent Clancy to advise that Mr. Price would be returning. [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Later that day, Mr. Price arrived at Indy Trading Post, driving a Ford Escape and accompanied by a female companion. [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Mr. Price stated that he and his companion wanted to use the shooting range and advised that the magazine he had purchased the previous day was not the correct type of magazine that he had intended to order. [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Agent Clancy, who was on the scene in an undercover capacity, arrested Mr. Price for his possession of ammunition the previous day. [Filing No. 2 at 4.]

         Agent Clancy then contacted parole officers with the Indiana Department of Corrections, because Mr. Price was on parole for a state conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. [Filing No. 2 at 4.] Under the conditions of his parole, Mr. Price had agreed not to engage in any criminal conduct, not to possess or use drugs, and not to possess any firearms or weapons. [Filing No. 2 at 4-5; Filing No. 42-1 at 1.] He also agreed that he was legally in the custody of the Department of Corrections, that his parole officer could visit him at any reasonable time, and that his “person and residence or property under [his] control may be subject to reasonable search . . . if the [parole] officer or [Department of Corrections] official has reasonable cause to believe that the parolee is violating or is in imminent danger of violating a condition to remaining on parole.” [Filing No. 2 at 5; Filing No. 42-1 at 1.]

         Three parole officers (“the Parole Officers”) arrived at Indy Trading Post to conduct a compliance search of the Ford Escape that Mr. Price had been driving. [Filing No. 2 at 5.] One officer discovered a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol in the center console, at which time he notified Agent Clancy of the firearm. [Filing No. 2 at 5-6.] Agent Clancy then obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, seized the pistol, and discovered a baggie of suspected marijuana located in a Clorox cleaning wipe container in the rear trunk area. [Filing No. 2 at 6.]

         Agent Clancy and the Parole Officers then transported Mr. Price to his residence, where the Parole Officers conducted a compliance search. [Filing No. 2 at 6.] In a bedroom believed to be Mr. Price's, the Parole Officers located what they believed to be marijuana roaches and smelled what they believed to be the odor of burnt marijuana in an ash tray next to the bed. [Filing No. 2 at 6.] They also located a box of .40 caliber ammunition in the TV stand and observed mail addressed to Mr. Price. [Filing No. 2 at 6.] The Parole Officers then informed Agent Clancy of what they had found, and Agent Clancy obtained a warrant to search the residence, another vehicle on the property, and an outbuilding. [Filing No. 2 at 6-7.] During the subsequent search, Agent Clancy and the Parole Officers located the following items:

• a “drug note pad” listing prices and amounts;
• a bag to the holster Mr. Price purchased on October 16;
• the ammunition that Mr. Price purchased on October 16 and the receipt from Indy Trading Post;
• $1, 038 in cash, including $470 that was hidden in a tin container inside a heating vent and $586 in a small box located on the same TV stand where the ...

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