829 P.2d 1068 (Wash. 1992), 58458-3, State v. Salinas

Docket Nº:58458-3.
Citation:829 P.2d 1068, 119 Wn.2d 192
Opinion Judge:DOLLIVER
Party Name:The STATE of Washington, Respondent, v. Ruben R. SALINAS, Appellant.
Attorney:Washington Appellate Defender Ass'n Suzanne Lee Elliott, Seattle, for appellant. James E. Lobsenz, Seattle, amicus curiae for appellant on behalf of American Civil Liberties.
Judge Panel:DORE, C.J., and BRACHTENBACH, ANDERSEN, DURHAM, SMITH, GUY and JOHNSON, JJ., concur. UTTER, Justice (concurring).
Case Date:May 21, 1992
Court:Supreme Court of Washington

Page 1068

829 P.2d 1068 (Wash. 1992)

119 Wn.2d 192

The STATE of Washington, Respondent,


Ruben R. SALINAS, Appellant.

No. 58458-3.

Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.

May 21, 1992

Page 1069

[119 Wn.2d 193] Washington Appellate Defender Ass'n Suzanne Lee Elliott, Seattle, for appellant.

Page 1070

Norm Maleng, King County Prosecutor, Theresa L. Fricke, Sr. Pros. Atty., Michael E. Shaw, Deputy, Seattle, for respondent. [119 Wn.2d 194]

James E. Lobsenz, Seattle, amicus curiae for appellant on behalf of American Civil Liberties.

DOLLIVER, Justice.

This case arises from a reverse sting operation in which Willie Charles Davis, a paid police informant, posed as a narcotics seller. Detective Mark W. Orendorff of the King County Police Drug Enforcement Unit met Davis in early April 1990 when Davis was awaiting trial on a drug charge. Davis called Detective Orendorff to inquire about a reduction or dismissal of the drug charge in exchange for his assistance and cooperation with the King County Police in undercover drug operations. When Detective Orendorff informed Davis the King County Prosecutor would not agree to reduce or dismiss Davis' drug charge, Davis was still willing to work as a paid informant because he needed money to pay a defense attorney. Soon after his initial conversation with Detective Orendorff, Davis participated in a transaction which resulted in two arrests and the seizure of 10 ounces of cocaine.

Davis called Detective Orendorff again on April 28, 1990, and told him a man named "Ernesto" (who was unavailable at the time of Salinas' trial) knew someone who would buy 3 kilograms of cocaine. Davis and Ernesto later agreed that they, along with the buyer(s), would meet at a Denny's restaurant in the Georgetown area at 9:45 p.m. on April 29; if all went well, the transaction could be completed that night.

At 9:20 p.m. on April 29 King County Police Chief Nickle, acting pursuant to RCW 9.73.230, authorized the interception, transmission, and recording of any conversations regarding the sale of drugs between Davis and the potential buyer(s). The determination of probable cause to intercept was based on Davis' contacts with Ernesto and his assistance to the King County Police Drug Enforcement Unit in the past. The report also contained the certificate of Davis' consent to the interception and recording of his conversations. On May 2, 1990, Judge Jerome M. Johnson of King County Superior Court reviewed the authorization and [119 Wn.2d 195] determined it met the requirements of RCW 9.73.230 (see Laws of 1989, ch. 271, § 204, p. 1291).

Pursuant to the authorization and certificate of consent, Davis wore a wire and proceeded with several surveillance detectives to Denny's. King County detectives had earlier searched Davis and his vehicle and provided him with 3 kilograms of cocaine obtained from police evidence. At the restaurant, Davis met Ernesto, along with Salinas and Mario Coronel (Salinas' codefendant whose trial was severed). Davis negotiated mainly with Salinas, who appeared to be the buyer and primary source of money. Davis, Ernesto, and Salinas transacted no business but spoke again by phone that night (actually the early morning hours of April 30) and agreed on the amount of cocaine (1.25 kilograms) and the price ($25,000). That conversation was recorded pursuant to the first authorization. They also agreed to talk again by phone to set up a time to meet and make the transaction.

The next day, Davis telephoned Salinas, and they agreed to meet at the same Denny's around 10:30 p.m. to complete the drug deal. Later in the day, Chief Nickle executed a final authorization allowing the recording and transmission of conversations to take place that night, again receiving Davis' consent and the subsequent approval of Judge Johnson.

Before going to the restaurant, Davis was provided with 1.25 kilograms of cocaine and wired with audio intercept equipment. When Davis and the accompanying surveillance officers arrived at Denny's, they found officers from the Seattle Police Department eating there and decided to move the transaction to the McDonald's parking lot down the street. Davis informed the defendant and Coronel of the change, and they proceeded to McDonald's. Salinas retrieved a brown paper bag containing the $25,000 from his car, then got

Page 1071

into Davis' car. The following is a partial record of the conversation that ensued:

[DAVIS]: I got the dope right here. Come on, open.

SALINAS: What I'd like to do, open up so I can see, you know. [119 Wn.2d 196]

[DAVIS]: Go ahead. You've got to see?

SALINAS: (Unintelligible).

[DAVIS]: (Unintelligible).

. . . . .

[DAVIS]: Nah. I have ... how much is there?

SALINAS: That's ... that's 17.

[DAVIS]: 17?


[DAVIS]: I told him if he was buying one, I wanted 18.

SALINAS: Huh? Wait, let me see. How much is in, you think?

[DAVIS]: Okay, so ... a ki ... a ki and a quart but if you only got 17, I can only let one go.

SALINAS: Yeah, well, I got 17 here, you know. That's what I got there, 17.

[DAVIS]: How much is that?

SALINAS: What, this is about nine. But I thought you were going to make one.


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