United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Oscar
Moreno Coronado's Motion to Suppress for Evidence
Obtained as a result of Violations of Amendment IV to the
United States Constitution (ECF No. 62). The Court held a
hearing on the motion on August 1, 2017. The Court, having
considered the motion, briefs, evidence, argument, and
otherwise being fully advised, concludes that the motion to
suppress should be denied.
Agent William Baker has worked for the Drug Enforcement
Administration (“DEA”) since 2004. He has been
involved in approximately 20 methamphetamine
(“meth”) investigations using undercover agents
and surveillance techniques. Special Agent Baker contacted a
paid confidential informant (“CI”), whose
services the DEA used in other investigations in Miami and
Houston. The CI knew Joshua Talamantes from a previous
incarceration. Agents knew that Mr. Talamantes lived in
Haskell, Texas and had a lengthy criminal history.
Agent Baker put the CI in touch with an undercover officer
(“UC”) with New Mexico State Police
(“NMSP”). The UC and CI made arrangements for the
CI to contact Mr. Talamantes. The CI called Mr. Talamantes
and said he had a guy in Albuquerque that wanted to purchase
meth and they exchanged numbers. The UC then began
communicating with Mr. Talamantes directly via cell phone and
for over a month tried to arrange the deal with Mr.
Talamantes. The DEA paid the CI for his efforts.
finally set up a deal to buy four pounds of meth on June 28,
2016. Mr. Talamantes agreed to meet the UC agents in the
Lowe's parking lot near Interstate-40
(“I-40”) and 12th Street in Albuquerque. Early in
the day on June 28, 2016, Mr. Talamantes communicated with
the UC that he was heading that way and would be there in a
few hours. The agents knew Mr. Talamantes' identity and
what he looked like from his driver's license and prior
arrest photographs. Special Agent Baker arranged surveillance
of Mr. Talamantes at the meeting location in Albuquerque
using agents from the DEA, Department of Homeland Security
(“HSI”), and NMSP. Agents set up a perimeter and
were stationed at the Lowe's hardware store and at the
nearby Walgreens and Four Winds gas station. Special Agent
Baker was in a vehicle with the two UC officers and another
Agent Baker's boss first identified Mr. Talamantes by his
photographs when Mr. Talamantes pulled into the Four Winds
gas station and parked next to him. Mr. Talamantes drove a
black Ford Fusion with Texas plates. A female was in the car
with him. Agents kept Mr. Talamantes under continual
surveillance from that point until his arrest using ground
and aerial units.
approximately 2:45 p.m., Mr. Talamantes called the UC to let
him know that he was waiting on his “boy” to
come. Initially, agents thought that Mr. Talamantes was
bringing the meth with him from Texas, but his communications
with the UC about his boy bringing it led them to believe Mr.
Talamantes was waiting for the drugs to be delivered to him.
Agents believed that his “boy” referred to
someone who would supply Talamantes with drugs.
4:50 p.m., Mr. Talamantes drove to a Lowe's grocery store
where agents followed him. Mr. Talamantes sat there for a
couple minutes, and then he drove right back to the Four
Winds gas station. He did not meet anyone at the Lowe's
grocery store. Mr. Talamantes texted the UC again and said he
was still waiting on his guy.
5:24 p.m., Mr. Talamantes pulled out of the parking lot and
drove eastbound on I-40. While he was driving on I-40, Mr.
Talamantes called the UC and said he had just met with his
boy over at Eubank and gotten the meth and would meet back at
the Four Winds gas station. Despite his statement, agents did
not believe Mr. Talamantes had the meth yet, because he had
waited nearly three hours to meet his contact and was driving
towards, but had not yet reached, Eubank Boulevard. Mr.
Talamantes exited at Eubank and drove to Hotel Circle where
he parked in the back of the Amberly Suites Hotel. After less
than a minute, a Mustang with Texas license plates pulled up
to the Ford Fusion, and Mr. Talamantes had a short
conversation with the other driver. Mr. Talamantes followed
the other vehicle north on Eubank to a small strip center
where they parked trunk-to-trunk behind one another. Special
Agent Baker drove by the vehicles and observed Mr. Talamantes
and the driver of the Mustang, later identified as Defendant
Moreno Coronado, meeting. The meeting took place around 5:53
Agent Chris Martin drove by in another surveillance truck,
and he saw Mr. Talamantes reach into the trunk of the
Mustang, retrieve a bag from the trunk, and put it into his
Fusion. The meeting lasted about three minutes. Mr.
Talamantes and Defendant then got in their separate vehicles
and began driving away. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Talamantes
called the UC to say he had the stuff and to meet back at the
Four Winds gas station. Based on his training and experience,
Special Agent Baker believed that Defendant was the source of
supply delivering methamphetamine to Mr. Talamantes. Special
Agent Baker followed Mr. Talamantes in the Fusion back to
I-40 and the gas station.
Agent Chris Martin followed Defendant Moreno Coronado. Other
DEA agents provided air surveillance of Defendant. In
addition, agents had already prearranged an NMSP marked unit
to conduct traffic stops as needed for the operation. While
following Mr. Talamantes on I-40, Special Agent Baker
instructed Agent Israel Rodriguez, who was a passenger in his
vehicle, to call NMSP Sergeant Arsenio Chavez and tell him to
arrest the driver of the Mustang for being the source of
supply for the meth they suspected Mr. Talamantes was
delivering to the UC.
the incident, Special Agent Baker spoke with Agent Martin and
Sergeant Chavez. Based on those conversations, Special Agent
Baker learned the following: Defendant, immediately after
meeting with Mr. Talamantes, traveled north on Eubank
Boulevard a couple blocks to another traffic light where he
made a U-turn. Defendant then drove southbound on Eubank to
westbound I-40. He proceeded to southbound Interstate 25
(“I-25”). At that time, Defendant started driving
very fast, reaching speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Agent
Martin had difficulty keeping constant visual surveillance on
Defendant because he drove at high speeds, weaving in and out
of heavy traffic. Defendant exited I-25 at the Isleta exit.
Although Agent Martin and Sergeant Chavez were trying to
catch up to him to do a traffic stop, they did not reach him
until he was parked at the Isleta Casino and already out of
his car. When Sergeant Chavez caught up to Defendant, he was
walking towards the hotel. At that time, Sergeant Chavez
arrested Defendant. Sergeant Chavez did not give Defendant
his Miranda warnings at the scene, nor did he
interview him. The basis for the arrest was Special Agent
Baker's belief that Defendant was the source of supply of
methamphetamine. The subjective purpose of the arrest was not
because of the manner in which Defendant was driving.
Mr. Talamantes arrived back at the Four Winds gas station.
The UC agents drove to the Four Winds, parked, and texted
they were there. Mr. Talamantes then got out of his Ford
Fusion, brought the bag with him, and gave it to the UC. When
the UC opened the bag, it contained approximately four pounds
of methamphetamine. Agents arrested Mr. Talamantes and
field-tested the substance. Agent Martin subsequently
identified the bag as the same one that Mr. Talamantes
removed from the trunk of Defendant's
hours later, after agents transported Defendant to the DEA
offices, Special Agent Baker advised Defendant of his
Miranda rights. Defendant waived his rights and
agreed to talk. Defendant moves to suppress the statements he
made in the interview, arguing agents did not have probable
cause to believe he was ...