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United States v. Gomez

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

March 30, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MEYLAN MONTALVO GOMEZ, YARAI FUENTES QUINONES, NAUDI REYES FERNANDEZ, YOSAN PONS SOSA, LAZARO SERRANO DIAZ, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL JOHN ALOI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Yarai Fuentes Quinones' motion to suppress physical evidence filed on March 19, 2018. (ECF No. 108). The United States of America (hereinafter “Government”) filed a response in opposition to the motion on March 22, 2018. (ECF No. 114). On March 26, 2018, the undersigned held a hearing on the motion. Defendants Meylan Montalvo Gomez, Yarai Fuentes Quinones, Naudi Reyes Fernandez, Yosan Pons Sosa, and Lazaro Serrano Diaz, appeared in person and by their counsel, Thomas G. Dyer, L. Richard Walker, David W. Frame, Brandon S. Flower, and Michael J. Sharley, respectively. The Government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney, Jarod Douglas. Johnny Benningfield, a certified court interpreter, also appeared.

         During the hearing, the Government presented the testimony of West Virginia State Police Corporal David W. Simmons, Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Gregory L. Howard, and West Virginia State Police Trooper Austin Farmer. Defendants Meylan Montalvo Gomez and Yosan Pons Sosa also testified. Additionally, the undersigned admitted Government Exhibits 1-4 (a copy of the affidavit and complaint for the search warrant at issue; a copy of the signed search warrant and list of seized property, an email from Cpl. Simmons to Trooper Farmer and unsigned copy of the affidavit, complaint for search warrant and search warrant; and a copy of the signed search warrant and list of seized property).

         I. INTRODUCTION

         A. Relevant Background

         Defendants were indicted by a grand jury attending the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on December 5, 2017, charging Defendants with access device fraud offenses. After initial appearances and arraignments, Defendants Montalvo Gomez, Reyes Fernandez and Serrano Diaz were detained, while Defendants Fuentes Quinones and Pons Sosa were released on bond subject to certain conditions of release. Fuentes Quinones now moves the Court to suppress the physical evidence seized during the execution of an October 23, 2017, search warrant of room 202 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Huntington, West Virginia, the hotel where Defendants were residing as guests.

         B. Pending Motions

         In addition to Defendant Fuentes Quinones' pending motion to suppress (ECF NO. 108) are four motions to join Defendant's motion. (ECF Nos. 109, 110, 111, 112). During the suppression hearing the Government did not dispute the Defendants' request to join. Accordingly, the undersigned GRANTED Defendants' motions to the extent of solely joining Defendant Fuentes Quinones' motion.

         C. Recommendation

         The Court is not persuaded by Defendant Fuentes Quinones' motion and recommends that it be DENIED.

         II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Finding the testimony of the witnesses credible, the undersigned deduced the following facts after considering the parties' motions and responses and all the evidence and testimony that was provided to the Court during the suppression hearing.

         In or about October 2017, an investigation into unauthorized credit/debit card transactions was being conducted by the West Virginia State Police (hereinafter “WVSP”), United States Attorney's Office and the Monongalia County Sherriff's Department. On October 19th and 20th of 2017, the WVSP received complaints from two individuals regarding unauthorized use of their debit cards. After reviewing video surveillance from the establishments where these unauthorized transactions took place, a Nissan Versa bearing a Maryland license plate and multiple suspects were seen. The vehicle was registered to All Car Leasing, Inc.

         On October 23, 2018, Cpl. Simmons, a WVSP officer involved in the investigation received a federal grand jury subpoena return from All Car Leasing, providing him with records on the Nissan Versa. The rental agreement showed Defendant Montalvo Gomez had rented the vehicle on October 18, 2017, from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. A license plate reader inquiry revealed that the Nissan Versa passed mile marker 150 on Interstate-79 South on October 19, 2017, at 5:27 p.m. GPS coordinates revealed that on October 23, 2017, the Nissan Versa was located at 800 3rd Avenue, Huntington, West Virginia, later determined to be a parking area for a Holiday Inn Hotel. Cpl. Simmons relayed this information to WVSP Sgt. Barry Wellman and Cpl. Tippett of the Huntington Detachment, who later confirmed that the Nissan Versa and a black ...


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