Argued: May 7, 2019
from the United States District Court for the District of
South Carolina, at Spartanburg. Henry M. Herlong, Jr., Senior
District Judge. (7:17-cr-00527-HMH-1)
Deck Harrill, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER,
Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant.
Bowers Andrews, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.
A. Lydon, United States Attorney, Columbia, South Carolina,
Jennifer E. Wells, Special Assistant United States Attorney,
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenville, South
Carolina, for Appellee.
MOTZ, KING, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.
GRIBBON MOTZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
district court found Thomas Edward Norman guilty of being a
felon in possession of a firearm, possessing heroin and
cocaine with intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm
in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. On the basis of
his prior conviction for conspiracy to possess cocaine and
cocaine base with intent to distribute, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 846, the court applied an effective six-level
enhancement to Norman's sentence under United States
Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) § 2K2.1(a)(4)(A).
Norman appeals the denial of his motion to suppress and the
imposition of the enhancement. For the reasons that follow,
relate the facts relevant to the suppression motion in the
light most favorable to the Government, the prevailing party
before the district court. See United States v.
Bullette, 854 F.3d 261, 265 (4th Cir. 2017).
December 7, 2016, officers with the United States Marshals
Fugitive Task Force and the local sheriff's office
received information that Norman, wanted on an outstanding
warrant for violating the terms of his supervised release,
could be found in a black Camry on Archer Road in
Spartanburg, South Carolina. Arriving on the scene, the
officers approached the vehicle, removed Norman, and placed
him under arrest pursuant to the outstanding warrant. They
then searched Norman and found a large amount of cash and a
cell phone in his pockets. The officers also removed and
searched the sole passenger in the vehicle, Princess
Harrison; they found a baggie in her hair, which she admitted
contained cocaine residue.
officers placed the cash seized from Norman's person on
the driver's side seat of the Camry, they saw additional
cash on the car's floorboard. The officers later
ascertained that the total amount of cash recovered from
Norman's person and the floorboard was $1, 244. The
officers also observed a small tied-up quarter baggie sitting
behind the gear stick on the center console of the vehicle.
One officer testified that, based on the baggie's
distinctive appearance and his seventeen years of experience
with narcotics investigations, he believed the baggie
contained contraband. The baggie's contents later tested
positive for heroin.
arresting Norman and Harrison and observing the cash and
baggie in plain view, the officers conducted an extensive
search of the vehicle. They subsequently located packages
containing cocaine and "molly" (a street term for
powdered ecstasy) under a bag on the floor of the back seat
and a firearm under the driver's side seat.
13, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Norman on three
counts: (1) possession of a firearm and ammunition by a
felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1),
924(a)(2), and 924(e) ("Count 1"); (2) possession
with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and cocaine,
in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
(b)(1)(C) ("Count 2"); and (3) possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) ("Count
case proceeded to a bench trial. After the close of the
Government's case, Norman moved to suppress the drugs and
firearm recovered from the Camry as fruits of an illegal
search. The district court denied his motion, and later found
Norman guilty on all three counts.
Norman's conviction, the district court asked the United
States Probation Office to prepare a Presentence
Investigation Report ("PSR"). For Count 1, the
Probation Office calculated a base offense level of 20. This
included an effective six-level enhancement under U.S.S.G.
§ 2K2.1(a)(4)(A), on the basis that a prior conviction
for "Conspiracy to [Possess with Intent to Distribute]
Cocaine and Cocaine Base" under 21 U.S.C. § 846
constituted a "controlled substance offense." With
an additional two-level enhancement for a stolen firearm and
a criminal history category of VI, Norman's resulting
Guidelines range was 84 to 105 months' imprisonment.
Counts 1 and 2 were consolidated pursuant to U.S.S.G. §
3D1.2(c). Because Count 3 required a mandatory 60-month
consecutive term of imprisonment, Norman's effective
Guidelines range under U.S.S.G. § 5G1.2(a) was 144 to
sentencing hearing on March 27, 2018, Norman's sole
objection was to the criminal history points associated with
a 2005 conviction in state court. The court overruled that
objection. The district court then sentenced Norman to 156
months of imprisonment, consisting of 96 months for Counts 1
and 2 ...