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United States v. Sekiya

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

December 6, 2018

MIKKO SEKIYA, Defendant.



         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on pro se Defendant's "Motion to Suppress Evidence & All Statements and to Dismiss All Charges," filed October 15, 2018. (Doc. 33). Having reviewed the parties' briefs and applicable law, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.


         On January 11, 2018, Albuquerque Police Department Officer Estevan Correa was dispatched to M&F Auto Sales, for a report of a stolen truck. [R. Doc. 38, filed October 29, 2018 at 2].[1] The vehicle was described as a white Toyota Tundra with no license plate, black wheels, and an M&F Auto Sales sticker on the top left side of the tailgate. [Id.] Officer Correa was shown a photograph of the stolen truck, and the vehicle was last reported driving at an intersection on the west side of Albuquerque, New Mexico. [Id.] A few hours later, Officer Correa and Officer Lawrence Monte saw the vehicle matching the exact description driving near them. Both officers observed Defendant exit the vehicle and walk toward an apartment. [Id.] At this point, Sergeant David Nix arrives to the scene to assist both officers. [Id.] Sergeant Nix approached Defendant from the apartment office and asked to speak with him, as the other officers on looked from the apartment complex parking lot. [Id.] The officers observed Defendant carrying a bundle of clothes and saw Defendant reach into his pockets. Defendant was instructed to put the items down, and Defendant immediately thereafter stated that he was "an FBI agent." [Id.] Defendant was instructed to turn around and put his hands behind his back. [Id.]

         As Defendant turned around and put his hands behind his back, Sergeant Nix asked Defendant if he had any weapons on him, specifically guns or knives. [Id.] Defendant responded that he did have a gun in his left pocket. [Id.] Officer Correa then conducted a search of Defendant's person and Sergeant Nix retrieved a loaded firearm. [Id.] Immediately thereafter, Defendant was handcuffed and placed in a patrol unit, as the officers continued an investigation. [Id. at 3] Without being questioned, Defendant identified himself as an FBI agent and stated that his name was Mikko Sekiya. [Id.] Sergeant Nix then ran the firearm's serial number and truck VIN number and confirmed both as stolen. [Id.]

         Once officers determined that the firearm was stolen, Defendant was placed under arrest for possession of a stolen firearm. [Id.] The officers then conducted a full search of Defendant's person and located meth in his pocket. [Id.] Defendant was not questioned regarding the incident prior to the arrest, and once arrested was questioned regarding his identifying information, including name, social security number, and date of birth. [Id. at 3-4]

         Defendant filed the present Motion asking the Court to suppress evidence and statements obtained from his arrest on January 11, 2018 for alleged constitutional violations under the Fourth and Fifth Amendment. [R. Doc. 33]. Defendant was indicted on stealing a firearm from a business licensed to engage in the dealing of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(u), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1). [R. Doc. 1, filed May 9, 2018]. On October 5, 2018, the Court granted Defendant's Motion to Proceed pro se and Mr. Padilla's Motion to Withdraw allowing Defendant to proceed in this matter as a pro se defendant and allowing his attorney, Alonzo Padilla, to withdraw as his attorney. [R. Doc. 26, filed October 5, 2018].


         It appears from Defendant's pro se Motion and the government's response that there are three issues to be resolved:

1. Whether there was reasonable suspicion for the initial investigatory detention of Defendant;
2. Whether Defendant's statements regarding weapons were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights; and
3. Whether there was probable cause to search and arrest Defendant.

         The Court emphasizes that "[t]he hazards which beset a layman when he seeks to represent himself are obvious." United States v. Pinkey, 548 F.2d 305, 311 (10th Cir. 1977). Nevertheless, "[h]e who proceeds pro se with full knowledge and understanding of the risks does so with no greater rights than a litigant represented by a lawyer, and the trial court is under no obligation to become an "advocate" for or to assist and guide the pro se layman [. . . .]" Id. (citations omitted).

         I. Reasonable Suspicion for Initial ...

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