The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
The Court has before it Defendant's Motion to Suppress (Dkt. 17). The Court heard evidence on August 11, 2010, and took the motion under advisement. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will deny the motion.
On April 1, 2010, at about 2:00 p.m., a confidential informant told Idaho State Police detectives that he had seen defendant Lish in possession of eight ounces of methamphetamine that he was supplying to another person who was selling it in Lish's presence. The informant had provided accurate and reliable information to these detectives on numerous occasions in the past.
The detectives determined that Lish was on felony probation. They contacted Lish's probation officer, Rob Adams, who told them that Lish was attending counseling at Pacific Rim Counseling. The detectives then placed Lish under surveillance.
At about 6:00 p.m., the detectives saw Lish exit Pacific Rim Counseling and get into a red Ford Mustang. They followed him. At about 6:30 p.m., the detectives ran the plates and discovered that they were registered to Lish but to a different vehicle than the red Mustang.
The detectives watched as Lish met another person at a local park at which time that person got out of her car and into Lish's car. The two were then observed driving around the neighborhood for several minutes before returning to the other car, where the passenger got back into her own car and drove away.
During the next few hours, the detectives observed Lish driving to a number of different residences that were occupied by known drug users. When driving, Lish would change directions in what the detectives recognized as an attempt to throw off any surveillance. Based on the officers training and experience, all of this behavior was consistent with street level drug trafficking.
At about 11:20 p.m. that same evening, Officer Shutes pulled the red Mustang over at the request of the detectives. He told Lish he pulled him over for displaying a fictitious license plate. Officer Shutes was not aware that earlier that day -- around noon -- Lish had registered the red Mustang at the Bannock County Courthouse and that the County had authorized the transfer of those license plates to the Mustang.
Lish told Officer Shutes that he had just registered the car and properly transferred the plates. Lish provided his driver's information and proof of registration to Officer Shutes. Officer Shutes told Lish to "hang tight for just a second, and we'll get you going." Officer Shutes then went back to his patrol car, and contacted Idaho State Police Detective Julie Donahue to advise her of the stop. Detective Donahue immediately contacted Lish's probation officer, Rob Adams, and advised him of what had been observed that evening. Probation Officer Adams contacted his supervisor to receive authorization to conduct a Probation Search of Lish's vehicle, and then contacted Officer Shutes, who had done a driver's check on Lish in the interim. Probation Officer Adams advised Officer Shutes that he was enroute to that location to conduct a Probation Search of Lish's vehicle, but that Officer Shutes should begin the search. These related conversations took a total of approximately fourteen minutes, during which time Lish remained in his vehicle.
During the search, a vinyl bag was found under the passenger's seat. Located inside the vinyl bag was a plastic bag containing marijuana, a black digital scale, and three small plastic bags each containing methamphetamine. Lish was then arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and transported to the Bannock County Jail. At the Bannock County Jail, Lish was also found to be in possession of three additional bags of suspected methamphetamine.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against ...