709 F.2d 1300 (9th Cir. 1983), 82-1659, United States v. Mendez-Jimenez

Docket Nº:82-1659.
Citation:709 F.2d 1300
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Luis Alfonso MENDEZ-JIMENEZ, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:July 06, 1983
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 1300

709 F.2d 1300 (9th Cir. 1983)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Luis Alfonso MENDEZ-JIMENEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 82-1659.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 6, 1983

Argued and Submitted May 4, 1983.

As Amended Sept. 15, 1983.

Page 1301

Brian A. Sun, Asst. U.S. Atty., Los Angeles, Cal., for defendant-appellant.

Yolando Barrera Gomez, Deputy Federal Public Defender, Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Before WRIGHT and SCHROEDER, Circuit Judges, and REED, [*] District Judge.

EDWARD C. REED, Jr., District Judge:

Defendant, Luis Alfonso Mendez-Jimenez, a Colombian national, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport aboard Avianca Flight 80 from Bogota, Colombia, on July 10, 1982. He presented himself to a customs inspector and then was referred to Inspector Talamantes at a secondary inspection station. Inspector Talamantes was particularly experienced and skilled in detecting body cavity and other internal smuggling. He had apprehended twenty-five individuals arriving on Flight 80 smuggling drugs in their body cavities or alimentary canals.

It was determined that the defendant was traveling alone. His airplane ticket

Page 1302

had been purchased for cash. He had only one piece of carry-on luggage. Questioning of Defendant revealed that he supposedly planned a ten-day vacation in the United States, had no relatives or friends here, and was confused as to where he was going to stay. The Inspector noted that the defendant spoke no English and was extremely nervous.

Defendant's wallet appeared to be stripped of the usual identification and cards. It contained only very limited identification and $990, all in cash, mostly in $100 bills.

A patdown search revealed that defendant was carrying an anti-diarrhea pill (Lomotil). His passport appeared to be forged and fraudulent, in that parts appeared to be inked by hand.

Defendant had not had anything to eat or drink since prior to his departure from Bogota. During the time he was detained he was offered food and drink, but stated he did not want any.

Colombia is well known as a source country for smuggling of drugs into the United States.

Defendant refused to consent to an x-ray examination, even after Inspector Talamantes indicated a court order would be obtained to require such an examination.

An affidavit containing these facts and circumstances was presented to a magistrate for the purpose of obtaining a court order authorizing an x-ray examination of Defendant. The magistrate signed the order and Defendant was x-rayed. The x-rays revealed foreign objects in his body. Defendant was detained until he passed 102 balloons containing 402 grams of cocaine.

Defendant's motion to suppress the evidence was denied and he was subsequently convicted by a jury of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1).

The question before this Court is whether the affidavit presented to the magistrate evidenced a clear indication of internal body smuggling based on the totality of the circumstances. United States v. Rodriguez, 592 F.2d 553, 556 (9th Cir.1979). The duty of a reviewing court is simply to ensure that the magistrate had a substantial basis for concluding that a clear indication existed. See Illinois v. Gates, --- U.S. ----, 103...

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