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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

October 24, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCUS ALAN JONES, Defendant.

          ALEJANDRO B. FERNANDEZ ATTORNEY FOR MR. JONES

          MATTHEW T. NELSON ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARTHA VÁZQUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Marcus Jones' Motion to Compel Discovery Pursuant to Brady v. Maryland & Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(E)(i). Doc. 21. The government filed a timely Response in opposition. Doc. 23. Having considered the Motion, the relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, the Court finds that the Motion is not well-taken and accordingly will be DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Jones is charged in a one-count indictment with Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams and More of a Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine. Doc. 11 at 1. The charge stems from an encounter Mr. Jones had with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent (SA) Jarrell Perry aboard a Greyhound bus on May 5, 2019. Doc. 21 at 1. On that date, SA Perry reportedly engaged Mr. Jones in a consensual conversation. Doc. 23 at 1-2. After finding no contraband in two bags belonging to Mr. Jones, SA Perry noticed that he was wearing “long pants, a hooded pullover sweatshirt, and a winter jacket.” Id. at 2. Finding these clothes unusual for the weather and time of year, SA Perry reportedly asked for and received permission to conduct a pat down search, which revealed “numerous hard bundles concealed underneath the clothing and around [Mr. Jones'] waist.” Doc. 23 at 2. Mr. Jones was then taken to the DEA's Albuquerque District Office, where agents removed ten clear plastic heat-sealed bundles taped around his waist. Id. The bundles weighed approximately 5.45 kilograms, and the substance in one of them field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Id. at 2-3.

         SA Perry testified at the preliminary hearing held in this case on May 7, 2019. Doc. 9. During his testimony, he disclosed that after he arrested Mr. Jones on May 5th, 2019, he obtained information in a separate investigation about who owned the drugs in question. Doc. 9 at 35:20- 22 (Transcript of May 7, 2019 Preliminary Hearing). SA Perry stated that he did not have that information until after the arrest, however, and denied knowing anything about Mr. Jones at the time of arrest. Tr. at 35:9-14, 36:24-37:1.

         Mr. Jones now moves this Court to compel the production of four categories of information:

(1) All passenger lists Agent Perry consulted in connection with Mr. Jones' arrest;
(2) Information regarding the other investigation, including when it began, any relationship it had to Mr. Jones, and how information pertaining to Mr. Jones was gathered;
(3) Any and all documents and objects concerning, or obtained as part of any investigation that caused Agent Perry to suspect Mr. Jones of wrongdoing, or otherwise led him to approach Mr. Jones; and (4) Any and all documents and objects concerning, or obtained as part of any investigation that identifies the owner of the drugs that Mr. Jones was carrying.

Doc. 21 at 2-3.

         In support, Mr. Jones argues that the requested information would “indicate additional avenues of investigation, areas to explore on cross-examination, and assist in case theory development.” Id. at 3-4. More specifically, he argues that information about the other investigation acknowledged by SA Perry could go to the voluntariness of the encounter on the bus, and whether the government was conducting a prior investigation into Mr. Jones using “untested or illegal strategies to gather information.” Id. at 5. He points to findings in other cases that SA Perry's encounters do not appear to be random, and to evidence that the DEA employs “parallel construction” to hide secondary investigations into targets. Id. at 6-7. He further submits that the passenger lists would help “in everything from organizing rebuttal and impeachment, case theory, and… helping to identify other witnesses.” Id. at 5.

         In its Response, the government first asserts that on the day Mr. Jones was arraigned, it provided the defense with “all of the discovery in the United States' possession that is related to this case” including “investigative reports, photos, a recording of the initial encounter, a video of the interview, receipts for cash and other items, reports on [Mr. Jones'] personal history and criminal history, ...


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