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United States v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

April 9, 2019

JAMEL ANTWAN DAVIS, a/k/a MEL, Defendant.



         This matter is before the court on Defendant's motions to suppress [DE #46, #47], which have been referred to the undersigned for memorandum and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). The Government has responded in opposition to the motions to suppress, and the time for further filings has expired. The parties agree that the facts underlying Defendant's motions are not sufficiently in dispute to warrant an evidentiary hearing, and the matter is therefore ripe for decision.


         On March 7, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count, second superseding indictment charging Jamel Antwan Davis (“Davis”) with three counts of distribution of a quantity of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (counts one through three); possession with intent to distribute a quantity of hydrocodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (count four); maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 856(a)(1) (count five); possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and § 924 (count six); and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (count seven).

         On June 18, 2018, Davis filed two motions to suppress. In the first motion to suppress, Davis seeks to suppress evidence seized from his vehicle on the grounds the search and seizure violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Davis contends in the second motion that statements made during custodial interrogation by law enforcement officers violated his Fifth Amendment rights. He demands that any evidence obtained, including any incriminating statements made by him, be suppressed.


         The undersigned makes the following findings of fact based upon the documentary exhibits and video recording submitted by the parties:[1]

         Davis came to the attention of federal law enforcement in January 2017 when a confidential informant told FBI Task Force Officer (“TFO”) Matthews that an individual named “Mel” was selling crack cocaine and heroin from a residence near Raeford Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The informant identified the location of the residence and said that “Mel” operated a gold Toyota Camry. The informant further advised that “Mel” had possessed a Glock handgun and a nickel- or chrome-plated assault rifle in the past.

         Based upon this information, TFO Matthews contacted the Fayetteville Police Department and worked with Detective Yowell, a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Detective Yowell advised TFO Matthews that an informant had contacted him in April 2015 regarding an individual who went by the name “Mel” selling quantities of crack cocaine. Detective Yowell was able to identify “Mel” as Jamel Antwan Davis.

         On January 19, 2017, TFO Matthews traveled to Raeford Road and identified the residence described by the informant as 1025 Revere Street. TFO Matthews observed a gold Toyota Camry with North Carolina license plate PEF-2293 parked in the driveway. The vehicle was determined to be registered to Verrita McNeill of 162 Ridgeway Drive, Fayetteville, North Carolina. TFO Matthews saw a black male exit the front door of the residence and identified the individual to be Jamel Antwan Davis based on a prior arrest photograph. TFO Matthews observed multiple subjects approach and leave the residence in a manner he believed to be consistent with drug activity.

         On January 20, 2017, TFO Matthews contacted Detective Herrera of the Fayetteville Police Department's Career Criminal Unit. Detective Herrera initiated an investigation into Davis and the residence located at 1025 Revere Street in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

         On January 23, 2017, Detective Herrera, TFO Matthews, and Detective Robinson of the Fayetteville Police Department conducted surveillance of the residence located at 1025 Revere Street and observed Davis leave his residence in the gold Toyota Camry. TFO Matthews followed Davis to a restaurant parking lot at 5505 Raeford Road and saw a white male exit the passenger seat of a gold Buick and enter the front passenger seat of Davis' vehicle. The white male exited Davis' vehicle and returned to the passenger seat of the Buick, at which point Davis drove back to the residence at 1025 Revere Street. As the Buick left the parking lot, Detective Robinson conducted a traffic stop of the Buick based on an expired registration. Detective Robinson observed the passenger attempting to conceal an unknown item in his clothing and asked him to step out of the vehicle. As the passenger opened the door, Detective Robinson saw a capped syringe on the passenger floorboard. A search of the passenger revealed two bindles of heroin concealed in his clothing and shoes.

         During surveillance on January 24, 2017, Detective Herrera observed four separate occasions throughout the day where individuals entered the 1025 Revere Street residence and exited after a period of five to fifteen minutes. On January 25, 2017, Detective Herrera observed Davis engage in what appeared to be a hand-to-hand narcotics transaction at the front door of the residence.

         On January 26, 2017, officers obtained two state arrest warrants, each charging Davis with felonious sale of heroin, felonious delivery of heroin, and felonious possession with intent to sell or deliver heroin. Officers also obtained a warrant to search the 1025 Revere Street residence as well as “[a]ny and all vehicles located within the curtilage of the property . . . that are or appear to be related to criminal activity occurring at [the] residence . . . namely a gold 2003 Toyota Camry NC registration PEF2293 vin 4T1BE32K63U771369.”

         On January 27, 2017, officers surveilled Davis' residence and watched him leave the residence in the gold Toyota Camry around 3:00 pm. Officers then conducted a traffic stop and arrested Davis at a commercial parking lot approximately one-tenth of a mile from the residence. Detective Herrera then seized the gold Toyota Camry and drove it back to 1025 Revere Street to be searched. At the residence, officers searched the gold Toyota Camry and found a Diamondback .380 handgun with magazine and rounds under the back seat of the vehicle on the right side. Officers also found a Glock 27 handgun with magazine and rounds under the front passenger seat.

         From the 1025 Revere Street residence, officers seized plastic bags containing cocaine; used syringes; rubber band tourniquets; cotton balls; small aluminum cups; scales; hydrocodone pills; U.S. currency; sandwich baggies; a nickel plated AK-47; a fully loaded Norinco model MAK-90 semi-automatic rifle; ammunition; and a security system consisting of a television, a recording device, and surveillance cameras that provided a 360-degree view of the outside of the residence.

         Davis was questioned at the Fayetteville Police Department on January 27, 2017. Senior Sergeant A. Brinkley of the Cumberland County Sheriffs Office began his questioning around 5:08 p.m. At the time, Sergeant Brinkley was investigating the homicide of Davis' cousin, Martino Jones a/k/a “Coogi.” Sergeant Brinkley advised Davis of his Miranda rights by reading aloud and having Davis read along. Davis agreed to speak with law enforcement without a lawyer and signed a form waiving his Miranda rights. The interrogation concluded around 5:57 p.m.

         Approximately twelve minutes later, at 6:09 p.m., Detectives Moore and Yowell of the Fayetteville Police Department entered the interrogation room to question Davis. At the outset, Detective Moore reminded Davis that the same Miranda warnings Sergeant Brinkley read to him were still in effect. Detectives Moore and Yowell questioned Davis about the evidence seized from Davis' car and residence. Davis stated that the AK-47 was given to him by his cousin Coogi. Davis stated that ...

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