434 F.3d 25 (1st Cir. 2006), 05-1250, United States v. Almeida

Docket Nº:05-1250.
Citation:434 F.3d 25
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. B.J. ALMEIDA, Defendant, Appellant.
Case Date:January 10, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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434 F.3d 25 (1st Cir. 2006)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


B.J. ALMEIDA, Defendant, Appellant.

No. 05-1250.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

January 10, 2006

Submitted Oct. 6, 2005.


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Nicholas J.K. Mahoney, for appellant.

Paula D. Silsby, United States Attorney, and Margaret D. McGaughey, Assistant United States Attorney, Appellate Chief, for appellee.

Before Torruella, Circuit Judge, Campbell, Senior Circuit Judge, and Howard, Circuit Judge.

HOWARD, Circuit Judge.

B.J. Almeida appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence introduced at trial that led to his conviction for possession with the intent to distribute five or more grams of cocaine base. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) & 841(b)(1)(B). We affirm.


Police officers in Lewiston, Maine, placed a residence on Vail Street under surveillance after receiving information from reliable sources that drugs, including cocaine base, were being distributed from an apartment at this address. While conducting the surveillance, Officer Gregory Boucher began to follow an automobile after he observed it pick up a passenger, noted by Boucher to be a black male, outside of the building. He immediately called another officer, Eric Syphers for assistance. After Officers Syphers and Boucher observed the car run a stop sign, Syphers used his marked police car to pull it over into a parking lot. Officer Wayne Clifford arrived seconds later.

Officers Syphers and Clifford approached the car and spoke with the driver, a white male, who identified himself as Andrew Ash. Another white male sitting in the front identified himself as Vernon Milliken, and a black male sitting in the back and on the right identified himself as B.J. Almeida.

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Ash got out of the car and told Officer Syphers that Almeida had asked to be dropped off on Vail Street and then picked up after calling Ash on his cellular telephone. This narrative was consistent with Officer Boucher's earlier observations. Officer Clifford received Ash's permission to conduct a pat-down search and discovered $1,000 in cash. This discovery raised Clifford's suspicion that the occupants of the car were parties to a drug deal. Ash told Officer Clifford that he had nothing to hide and that the officers were free to search his car. They did so and recovered a crack pipe, which later tested positive for cocaine residue, under the right front seat. Clifford also found marijuana in the car's center console.

The officers separated the suspects. Officers Clifford and Boucher spoke to Milliken, who said that he and Ash had picked up Almeida in Gray, Maine, driven him to Lewiston and then dropped him off so he could "score some crack" at the Vail Street apartment. Officer Clifford then turned to Almeida, identified himself as a police officer, and advised Almeida that officers had observed him purchasing or selling illegal drugs. Almeida denied the accusation...

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