27 F.3d 1493 (10th Cir. 1994), 93-6323, United States v. Carhee

Docket Nº:93-6323.
Citation:27 F.3d 1493
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Reginald Keith CARHEE, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:June 22, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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27 F.3d 1493 (10th Cir. 1994)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Reginald Keith CARHEE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 93-6323.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

June 22, 1994

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Submitted on the briefs: [*]

Chris Eulberg, Eulberg & Brink, Oklahoma City, OK, for defendant-appellant.

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Vicki Miles-LaGrange, U.S. Atty., and Frank Michael Ringer, Asst. U.S. Atty., Oklahoma City, OK, for plaintiff-appellee.

Before MOORE, ANDERSON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.


Reginald Keith Carhee entered a conditional plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1). He appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized from his briefcase following an encounter with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) officers outside the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Carhee contends that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because he was seized without reasonable suspicion and his briefcase was searched pursuant to an invalid warrant, or, alternatively, the search was beyond the scope of the warrant. We affirm.


OCPD Officer James Hughes testified to the following facts at the hearing on the motion to suppress. See R. Vol. II at 5-43. Carhee did not testify and does not dispute these facts on appeal.

Carhee arrived in the Oklahoma City airport at 6:20 p.m. on May 21, 1993, on a flight from Los Angeles, California. He proceeded through the concourse, down an escalator, and outside to the curb where he waited for a taxi. He carried one clothes bag and a briefcase. At the curb, as his taxi arrived, Carhee was approached by Officer Hughes and DEA Agent Kevin Waters.

Waters had received a tip from the Los Angeles DEA that two persons boarded Carhee's flight under suspicious circumstances, paying for quick round-trip tickets with cash shortly before departure. Waters, Hughes, and OCPD Officer Gil Riggs waited at the arrival gate and watched the passengers deplane. Carhee was followed off the plane by three persons appearing to be together, two of whom fit the descriptions given by the Los Angeles DEA. The officers followed the three persons, and Carhee, through the airport.

While Carhee went directly outside, the other three persons proceeded to the baggage claim area. Moments later, one of the three, Manvel Perkins, walked outside and talked to Carhee and then returned inside to baggage claim. While Officer Riggs stayed inside, Agent Waters and Officer Hughes walked outside and approached Carhee.

Agent Waters and Officer Hughes identified themselves, showed their badges, and asked Carhee if they could speak with him. He said yes. Waters and Hughes, who were wearing plain clothes and whose weapons were concealed, asked Carhee if he had any identification, and he said no. They asked where he had arrived from, and he said Memphis. Officer Hughes thought Carhee appeared nervous. They asked Carhee if they could see his plane ticket, at which point he told them he had actually come from Los Angeles. He showed them his ticket, which was issued to Raymond Jones. Carhee identified himself as Raymond Jones.

The officers then asked Carhee "if he was carrying any narcotics into Oklahoma City." He said no. The officers then asked for, and received, permission to search his luggage. Nothing unusual was in his clothes bag, although Hughes thought it was unusual that there were no toiletry items in the bag. The officers asked Carhee if he had anything in the briefcase, and he said no. Carhee consented to a search of the briefcase, but it was locked, and he said he did not know the combination. Asked why he did not know the combination, Carhee said the briefcase did not belong to him. Carhee pointed to Perkins standing some distance away and said the briefcase belonged to him. Officer Hughes testified that Carhee's nervousness had increased to the point where he was physically shaking.

Agent Waters and Officer Hughes then informed Carhee that they were seizing the briefcase temporarily to have it tested by a dog sniff. They told him he could accompany them with the briefcase, or he could go on his way and give them an address and phone

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number where they could reach him. Carhee elected to stay with the briefcase.

As Carhee and the officers walked inside and downstairs to the airport police station, Carhee volunteered that a man named "Ronnie" in California had paid him $1,000 to carry the briefcase to Oklahoma City, no...

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