474 F.3d 1100 (8th Cir. 2007), 06-1938, United States v. Flores

Docket Nº:06-1938.
Citation:474 F.3d 1100
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Salvador FLORES, Appellant.
Case Date:January 25, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 1100

474 F.3d 1100 (8th Cir. 2007)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Salvador FLORES, Appellant.

No. 06-1938.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

January 25, 2007

Submitted: October 16, 2006.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Page 1101

Michael T. Levy, Omaha, NE, for appellant.

Nancy A. Svoboda, Asst. U.S. Atty., Omaha, NE, for appellee.

Salvador Flores, Leavenworth, KS, pro se.

Before WOLLMAN, RILEY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Salvador Flores appeals from his conviction for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1). We affirm.


On January 9, 2005, Nebraska Deputy Sheriff Bill Maddux was on routine patrol, traveling east on Interstate 80 in Seward County, Nebraska, when he came upon a vehicle driven by Flores, also traveling east. Maddux followed Flores for a short distance and observed Flores's vehicle twice cross the center line. Maddux thereafter conducted a traffic stop because of Flores's failure to maintain a single lane of travel and driving left of center and to determine whether Flores was impaired.

Maddux activated his video camera and audio recorder, exited the patrol car, and approached Flores's vehicle. As he approached, Maddux noticed two air fresheners in the back window deck of the vehicle and a Febreze deodorizer bottle on the rear floorboard. Maddux then had a conversation with Flores, the lone occupant of the vehicle, explained the reason for the stop, and asked him for his proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver's license. During this conversation, Maddux detected a strong air-freshener fragrance emanating from the vehicle and observed an additional air freshener hanging from the steering column and three cellular telephones in the front seat, one mounted on the dashboard, one plugged into a charger, and one lying on the front seat. Maddux found the presence of multiple air fresheners and cellular telephones to be significant because, based on his training and experience, he knew that people transporting large amounts of narcotics commonly use numerous deodorizers to eliminate the smell of such narcotics and commonly carry their own phone, plus phones given to them from the individuals for whom the narcotics are being transported so they can stay in contact during the trip.

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Once Flores retrieved the requested documents, Maddux had him exit the vehicle and take a seat in the front passenger side of his patrol car. Inside the patrol car, Maddux reviewed Flores's documents and had the dispatcher run Flores's information through the computer. During this process, Maddux asked Flores where he was headed, to which Flores replied that he had been in Colorado for a couple of weeks visiting family and was now returning home to Illinois. Maddux also learned that Flores was married and, when Maddux asked him where he worked, Flores hesitated and then showed Maddux the logo on the pocket of his jacket. Maddux found it strange that Flores would go on what appeared to be a family vacation while his family remained in Illinois. Maddux also thought it suspicious that Flores hesitated upon being asked where he worked and that he found it necessary to use his jacket as a means of identifying his employer.

The dispatcher eventually informed Maddux that everything was in order with Flores's driver's license and vehicle registration. Maddux subsequently issued Flores a written warning for driving left of center, explained it to him, returned all of Flores's documents, and told him that he was free to go. As Flores was preparing to leave the patrol car, Maddux asked if he could ask him a few questions. Flores replied, "Yeah, sure," and remained standing next to the passenger side door of the patrol unit. From inside the patrol unit, Maddux asked Flores if he had any marijuana, cocaine, or weapons in the vehicle, to which...

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