United States v. Li Fat Tong, 119.

Citation152 F.2d 650
Decision Date28 December 1945
Docket NumberNo. 119.,119.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)

Paul O'Dwyer, of New York City, for appellant.

T. Vincent Quinn, U. S. Atty., of Brooklyn, N. Y. (Vine H. Smith, Hyman H. Goldstein, and Mario Pittoni, Asst. U. S. Attys., all of Brooklyn, N. Y., of counsel), for appellee.

Before L. HAND, AUGUSTUS N. HAND, and CLARK, Circuit Judges.

AUGUSTUS N. HAND, Circuit Judge.

On July 9, 1944, the defendant, Li Fat Tong, was arrested by a United States Narcotic Agent named Ryan and his baggage searched at La Guardia Air Field in the Borough of Queens. As a result his bags were found to contain 20 tins of smoking opium and a bottle containing Yen Shee wine, a derivative of opium. No search warrant had been issued. The defendant was indicted in October, 1944, for facilitating the transportation and concealment of smoking opium and was convicted after trial. He has appealed from the judgment of conviction on the ground that the arrest and search were unlawful for lack of probable cause, that no competent evidence of the crime charged was adduced, that evidence in his favor was improperly excluded, and also that error was committed in refusing to suppress the use as evidence of the opium found in his possession. After the arrest and the search and seizure of the baggage containing the 20 tins of smoking opium and the bottle of Yen Shee wine, the defendant moved for an order to suppress the use of the merchandise as evidence on the ground that it had been obtained illegally, but the motion was denied.

On the motion to suppress, Daniel A. Belmont, a narcotic agent in charge of the office at Newark, N. J., testified that he was informed by six prisoners whom he interrogated at Newark about June 13, 1944, that the defendant brought narcotics into Newark and by another reliable man, who was not a prisoner, that the defendant was then on a trip to San Francisco and would return with a large supply of narcotics. Belmont also said that when he heard that the defendant was going to make the trip to San Francisco he kept in touch with his source of information and forwarded to New York memoranda containing his information and that the New York office kept in contact with the Chicago agent who notified New York that the defendant had landed in Chicago and that his plane was coming to New York. The judge refused to require Belmont to give the names of his informants.

Ryan, the narcotic agent at the New York office in charge of detecting the defendant's activities there, testified that on the evening of July 8, 1944, he received information from the agents in Chicago that defendant and another Chinaman named Fong Dick Lee were planning to leave there by plane and were due to arrive at LaGuardia Field at 8:30 the next morning. Prior to that time the New York narcotic agency had received Belmont's original memorandum that the latter had received reliable information, without disclosing the source, that the defendant was a contact man for various opium rings. Ryan sent a copy of this memorandum to the Chicago narcotic agency. He also found that the defendant had been arrested twice in the past on narcotic as well as on other criminal charges. On the evening of July 8, 1944, Ryan was told by Belmont that the defendant and Lee had narcotics in their possession and were bringing them to New York. When the defendant and Lee arrived at LaGuardia Field on the morning of July 9th, Ryan (who was accompanied by another narcotic agent named Bruch) showed them their official credentials, told the defendant they were narcotic officers, asked him for his draft card and requested Tong and Lee to step over to the government car where they could talk without interference. As the defendant proceeded to do this he dropped a one-ounce bottle which, as he admitted to Ryan, contained traces of Yen Shee Suey — a mixture of smoking opium and wine. Ryan was able to corroborate from the smell of the bottle what it had contained. The defendant told Ryan that he had emptied this bottle just before he left the plane and that he had a little more Yen Shee Suey in his bag. Ryan then told him that he was under arrest. The defendant then informed Ryan that he had gone out to the coast to purchase narcotics for which he had paid $4,000. Ryan asked him where his baggage was and was handed the baggage checks. When the baggage was produced it was searched and in one bag a half pint whiskey bottle containing a little Yen Shee Suey was found and in a shoe box 20 tins of opium.

Thereafter the case was brought to trial, which the defendant and his attorney asked to be had before the court without a jury. At the trial Ryan testified that he had been advised that the defendant was to arrive on a plane and had narcotics in his possession. He then reiterated the testimony about his dealings with the defendant at the airport, which he had given at the hearing of the motion to suppress, about the...

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54 cases
  • Parsons v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • December 23, 1948
    ...or desirable to show the prisoner's innocence, the official can be required by the court to make the disclosure. United States v. Li Fat Tong, 2 Cir., 152 F.2d 650; Wigmore on Evidence (3d ed.) section 2374, page 'If what is asked is useful evidence to vindicate the innocence of the accused......
  • People v. Williams
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1958
    ...States, 305 U.S. 251, 254, 59 S.Ct. 174, 83 L.Ed. 151; United States v. Conforti, 7 Cir., 200 F.2d 365, 367-369; United States v. Li Fat Tong, 2 Cir., 152 F.2d 650, 652; United States v. Heitner, 2 Cir., 149 F.2d 105, 107; Morgan, Basic Problems of Evidence (1954) p. 119; McCormick on Evide......
  • State v. Burnett
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1964
    ...if there were no ensuing events giving credit to the informant's communication. The second case cited in Roviaro is United States v. Li Fat Tong, 152 F.2d 650 (2 Cir. 1945). There the informant advised the officer that defendant was arriving by plane with narcotics. The officer knew of prio......
  • Shurman v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • February 28, 1955
    ...Cf. Husty v. United States, 282 U.S. 694, 51 S.Ct. 240, 75 L.Ed. 629; Kelly v. United States, 5 Cir., 197 F.2d 162; United States v. Li Fat Tong, 2 Cir., 152 F.2d 650. And even though Texas courts take a narrower view of what constitutes probable cause, Crawford v. State, 148 Tex.Cr.R. 563,......
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