116 F.3d 1305 (9th Cir. 1997), 96-50498, United States v. Garcia-Barron

Docket Nº:96-50498, 96-50508.
Citation:116 F.3d 1305
Party Name:D.A.R. 8201 UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Rafael GARCIA-BARRON, and Grabel Solis Gonzalez, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:June 26, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1305

116 F.3d 1305 (9th Cir. 1997)

D.A.R. 8201

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Rafael GARCIA-BARRON, and Grabel Solis Gonzalez,

Defendants-Appellants.

Nos. 96-50498, 96-50508.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

June 26, 1997

Argued and Submitted April 9, 1997.

Knut S. Johnson, Law Office of Knut S. Johnson, San Diego, CA, for defendant-appellant Garcia-Barron.

Vincent J. Brunkow, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., San Diego, CA, for defendant-appellant Solis Gonzalez.

Lawrence E. Spong, Assistant United States Attorney, San Diego, CA, for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for Southern District of California; Marilyn L. Huff, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CR-96-0569-MLH.

Before: O'SCANNLAIN and TASHIMA, Circuit Judges, and WHALEY, District Judge. [*]

Page 1306

WHALEY, District Judge:

Appellants Grabel Solis Gonzalez ("Solis Gonzalez") and Rafael Garcia-Barron ("Garcia-Barron") both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bring in, bringing in, and transporting illegal aliens, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 371 (1994) and 8 U.S.C. § 1324 (1994). Having entered conditional pleas that preserved their rights to appeal, Appellants now challenge the District Court's denial of their Motions to Suppress on the grounds that the stop of both Appellants and the arrest of one was justified by reasonable suspicion and probable cause, respectively. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (1994), and we affirm.

BACKGROUND

The Border Patrol operates a checkpoint north of Nyland, California, on Highway 111, approximately fifty miles from the Mexican border. A northbound vehicle can avoid the checkpoint by exiting Highway 111 at Frink Road and taking several side roads that ultimately rejoin Highway 111 north of the checkpoint. Frink Road may also be used to access several trailer parks/spas occupied by retirees, who generally do not travel on Frink Road in the early morning hours.

At 3:00 a.m. on March 7, 1996, Border Patrol Agent Olvera ("Olvera") was stationed at the checkpoint, when he observed a vehicle driven by Solis Gonzalez exiting the highway at Frink Road. In the days preceding March 7, there had been an unusually high number of arrests for alien smuggling on Frink Road and the other side streets used to circumvent the checkpoint. Suspecting the vehicle that exited the highway was attempting to bypass the checkpoint, Olvera followed the vehicle. While doing so, he checked the vehicle license and determined that the car had been rented from a Budget Rent-A-Car office in the Los Angeles area. In Olvera's experience, most of the rental cars he had stopped during the previous two years were transporting persons subsequently charged with immigration violations. Olvera stopped the vehicle after it passed the two trailer courts/spas that are the most common destinations from the Frink Road exit but before the vehicle reached the intersection of Frink Road with Hot Mineral Spa Road. At that intersection, the vehicle could either have turned right and driven to a dead end, where another trailer park/spa was located, or turned left, ultimately rejoining Highway 111 north of the checkpoint.

During the stop, Solis Gonzalez presented Olvera with a United States passport and...

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