U.S. v. Gruber

Decision Date03 February 1998
Docket NumberNo. CR94-2022-MJM.,CR94-2022-MJM.
Citation994 F.Supp. 1026
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Jeffrey Paul GRUBER, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Iowa

Kandice Wilcox, Asst. U.S. Atty., for U.S.

Wallace L. Taylor, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Defendant Pierce.

Dennis W. Hartley, Colorado Springs, CO, for Defendant Gruber.

ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT GRUBER'S MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS

BENNETT, District Judge.

                TABLE OF CONTENTS
                I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ................................................1029
                 II. FINDINGS OF FACT ...........................................................1030
                     A. Facts Relating To Issuance Of Search Warrants ...........................1030
                     B. Facts Relating To Interception Of Wire Communications ..................1031
                III. LEGAL ANALYSIS .............................................................1035
                     A. Search Warrant Challenges ...............................................1035
                        1. Warrants' specificity .................................................1035
                           a. Specificity requirement in general ................................1035
                           b. Specificity of the search warrants in this case ...................1036
                        2. Probable cause for the warrants' issuance ............................1037
                        3. First Amendment material .............................................1039
                        4. Fruit of the poisonous tree argument .................................1040
                     B. Challenges To Interception Of Wire Communications .......................1040
                        1. Probable cause for authorizing Title III interception ................1040
                        2. Analysis of probable cause ...........................................1043
                        3. Necessity Requirement ................................................1044
                        4. Gruber's facial challenges to interception order and extensions ......1045
                        5. Minimization .........................................................1047
                
                6. Franks issue .........................................................1048
                 IV. CONCLUSION .................................................................1050
                

Defendant's motions to suppress the fruits of wiretap orders and search warrants raise multiple claims, all of which surround the validity of the search warrants and the wiretap authorizations. The court, therefore, is called upon here to undertake the task of ascertaining whether the search warrants and wiretap authorizations employed in the investigation of this case were lawful.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

On September 28, 1995, defendant Jeffrey Paul Gruber, along with thirteen others, was charged in forty count superseding indictment with racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), conspiracy to commit racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii), distributing and possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B), obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3), possessing with intent to sell a motor vehicle part knowing that the vehicle identification number of the part had been removed, obliterated, tampered with and altered, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2321, money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), the commission of violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3), firearms offenses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2), and with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 848(b) and 848(c).

Defendant Gruber has filed a Combined Motion To Suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the execution of four search warrants. As to each warrant, defendant Gruber moves to suppress evidence on the same two grounds: first, that the search warrants lack sufficient particularity and, second, that once allegedly improper materials are removed from the supporting affidavit, probable cause for issuance of the warrant did not exist. With respect to two warrants issued on February 2, 1994, which authorized the search and seizure of indicia of membership, defendant Gruber challenges the validity of those two warrants on the grounds that the issuing magistrate failed to subject them to heightened scrutiny which Gruber asserts was required in light of their implications to defendant Gruber's First Amendment rights. Defendant Gruber also challenges the validity of two of the search warrants on the ground that the respective warrant applications contained tainted information that was garnered from prior searches which were purportedly illegal. Defendant Gruber contends that absent the tainted materials, probable cause for issuance of the warrants did not exist. The government filed a timely resistance to defendant Gruber's motions.

Defendant Gruber has also filed a Motion To Suppress Intercepted Communications in which he seeks to suppress evidence derived from an interception authorized under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Title III), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2520. Defendant Gruber has moved to suppress evidence discovered as a result of a wiretap on four grounds: first, that probable cause for the interception did not exist; second, that the necessity requirement of Title III, 18 U.S.C. § 2518(3)(c) had not been satisfied; third, that defects exist in the order authorizing interception and the orders granting extensions of the interception; and finally, that error occurred during the monitoring phase of the interception. Defendant Gruber subsequently filed a supplemental memorandum which raised for the first time the issue of whether the affidavit used to obtain the wiretaps in this case contains intentional misstatements, and requested an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978). The court granted defendant Gruber's request for a Franks hearing.

An evidentiary hearing on defendant Gruber's motions was held on January 22, 1998, at which defendant Gruber presented the testimony of Internal Revenue Special Agent Kerry A. Bolt, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mark Terra. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Kandice Wilcox. Defendant Gruber was represented by Dennis W. Hartley, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

II. FINDINGS OF FACT
A. Facts Relating To Issuance Of Search Warrants

On December 8, 1993, law enforcement officers sought and obtained a search warrant for the residence of Jeffrey Paul Gruber. The search warrant application was supported by Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Kerry A. Bolt's twenty-three page affidavit. Special Agent Bolt related in his affidavit that some of the information contained in it was garnered from law enforcement officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, the Bremer County Sheriff's Office, the Waterloo Police Department, and the Cedar Falls Police Department. In addition to information gained from other law enforcement officers and agencies, Special Agent Bolt avers in his affidavit that additional information was obtained from confidential informants. Special Agent Bolt related information in his affidavit from five confidential informants who had personal knowledge of defendant Gruber's involvement in an ongoing and organized scheme to distribute methamphetamine in conjunction with the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club. Some of these confidential informants had observed large quantities of methamphetamine at Gruber's residence. Additionally, some of the confidential informants further provided information that Gruber maintained cash and drugs at this residence. One of the confidential informants identified Gruber as the "money man" of the organization.

The warrant authorized a search of the premises for:

1. Books, records, notes, receipts, ledgers, invoices, contracts, bank statements, deposit slips and cancelled checks, money drafts, letters of credit, money orders and cashier checks, receipts, passbooks, bank checks, lease agreements, loan records, financial statements, diaries, cash receipts and distribution journals, letters of credit, documents and/or keys relating to information, and other items evidencing the obtaining, secreting, transfer and/or concealment of assets and the obtaining, secreting, transfer, concealment and/or expenditure of money. All of the foregoing items should be related to the time period of 1987 to the present date.

2. Papers, tickets, notes, schedules, receipts, passports and other items relating to intrastate, interstate or foreign travel.

3. Addresses and/or telephone books and papers reflecting names, addresses and/or telephone numbers.

4. Books, records, receipts, notes, ledgers, and other papers relating to the transportation, ordering, purchase and/or distribution of controlled substances.

5. United States currency, precious metals, jewelry and financial instruments including but not limited to stocks and bonds.

6. Indicia of occupancy, residence and/or ownership of the premises described above including but not limited to utility and telephone bills, cancelled envelopes, keys, and lease agreements.

7. Any and all other paraphernalia, instrumentalities, substances, chemicals, controlled substances, or documents which are evidence of the illicit possession, use, dealing, manufacture, or distribution in controlled substances.

On February 2, 1994, law enforcement officers sought and obtained a second search warrant for defendant Gruber's residence. The search warrant application was supported by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mark Terra's forty-two page...

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