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United States of America v. Sabil Mumin Mujahid (D-2

September 7, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SABIL MUMIN MUJAHID (D-2), DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deborah M. Smith United States Magistrate Judge

INITIAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING [Doc. 304] DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE

I. MOTION PRESENTED

Defendant Sabil Mujahid is charged in this multi-defendant case with a variety of crimes. Of the forty-one counts in the Second Superceding Indictment, found at Docket 83, all but six apply to him. Most of the charges against Defendant Mujahid involve allegations of sex trafficking of children and adults and promotion of prostitution. Mujahid is also charged with a child pornography offense, conspiracy to commit tax fraud, and identity theft.

Some of the evidence against Mujahid comes from the execution of three search warrants:

1) Search Warrant 3:09-MJ-00033-JDR, issued on March 4, 2009, which authorized the search of Mujahid's residence at 2405 East 50th Avenue, Apt. #2, Anchorage, Alaska (hereafter Search Warrant-33).

2) Search Warrant 3:09-MJ-00032-JDR, issued on March 4, 2009, which authorized the search of Mujahid's vehicle, a four-door black Mercedes with the license plate number ENF194 (Search Warrant-32); and

3) Search Warrant 3:09-MJ-00048-DMS, issued on March 25, 2009, which authorized the search of Sidney Greene's (a co-defendant in this case) residence at 900 South Klevin Street, Apt. #1, Anchorage, Alaska (hereafter Search Warrant-48).

Mujahid argues that all alleged child pornography pictures, all records related to tax offenses, and all records related to identify theft that were seized pursuant to these three warrants and used to support the child pornography count and the tax fraud and identity theft counts against him should be suppressed. He argues that suppression is warranted because the seizure of such evidence exceeded the scope of the warrant and because the warrant was executed in the manner of a general warrant when the agents took all computer equipment from the places searched and conducted a general search of the equipment.

The Government filed an opposition at Docket 332. It argues that Mujahid does not have standing to challenge the search of Greene's residence pursuant to Search Warrant-48. It also argues that pornographic photographs are within the scope of the warrant. It also argues that the seizure of a black bag found in Greene's home was proper because it contained financial, identification, and business records that were within the scope of the warrant and the fact that the bag contained other incriminating information to support additional charges is not grounds to suppress that evidence. Finally, it argues that the computer searches were valid, pointing out that the case Mujahid relies on, United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., 579 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2009) (hereafter CDT I) was superceded on September 13, 2010 by United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., 621 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2010) (hereafter CDT II) and that the searches comply with the law in any event.

An evidentiary hearing was held on November 20, 2010 to take evidence about what exactly was seized. During the hearing, it was discovered that a fourth search warrant related to the case existed that had not been received by the defense. That warrant was 3:09-MJ-00201-JDR, issued on December 16, 2009 (hereafter referred to as Search Warrant-201). It authorized the search of computers and electronic storage devices seized by the officers pursuant to the three warrants listed above. Mujahid was allowed to review Search Warrant-201 and submit any supplemental briefing or motion in relation to that search warrant. Mujahid filed his supplement at Docket 525. In it, he argues that Search Warrant-201 was tainted by the improper seizure and search of computers and electronic media. He argues that the agents improperly engaged in a generalized search of the computers and electronic storage devices, which was beyond the scope of the earlier warrants, and then used information obtained from those improper searches to get a search warrant after the fact. He also argues that any evidence obtained pursuant to Search Warrant-201 should be suppressed as a remedy for the Government's discovery violation.

The Government submitted a supplemental response at Docket 548. In that response, the Government argues that the earlier warrants were not too general and that they properly allowed for the seizure and search of computers seized. Furthermore, it argues that the affidavit in support of Search Warrant-201demonstrates that probable cause for the warrant was not based on information learned from a prior search of the computers. It also asserts that there has not been a discovery violation but that if there was one, it was not intentional and no prejudice has resulted.

II. SEARCH WARRANTS-- ITEMS TO BE SEIZED

The search warrants involved in this motion all authorized the agents to search for and seize a list of items set forth in Attachment B. Attachment B is substantially the same in Search Warrant-33, Search Warrant-32, and Search Warrant-48. It authorized law enforcement to search for evidence of a violation of:

Title 18 United States Code 1952 Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises [and Title 18 United States Code Conspiracy]:

a) Any and all items related to commercial sex acts (prostitution) including, but not limited to: condoms, sex toys, sexual lubricants, sexually suggestive clothing, sexually suggestive pictures, bedding, PDA's, pagers, credit cards, cameras, videos, identification documents, guns, currency, client or customer lists, email addresses, escort licenses, lists of rules, ledgers, journals, notebooks, items indicating payment for commercial sex acts, medical records related to prostitution activities, medication and medical supplies relating to prostitution activities, including but not limited to contraceptives, anti-inflammatory medications, and antibiotics.

b) Any and all evidence of financial transactions related to prostitution operations, including but not limited to: monies, checks, checkbook registers, books, ledgers, bank account records, bank transaction receipts, wire transfer records, currency, financial transfers, purchases, invoices, receipts, airline tickets, records of expenditures, correspondence, files, and safe deposit box records. All credit cards, credit card statements, or handwritten notes that appear to depict credit card numbers or transactions.

c) All cellular telephones believed to belong to [Mujahid or Greene],

d) All photographs and video related to the prostitution businesses including pictures of Mujahid and/or Greene with other women or girls previously identified as associated with the escort businesses, or pictures of said females or pictures of either of the above depicting individuals in a sexual manner.

e) All non-commercially produced video tapes and all video recoding equipment.

f) All digital cameras and SD cards or other electronic storage media used to save digital photo images.

g) Any documents relating to Recruiter #2 and Recruiter #1 to include, but not limited to, names, addresses, telephone numbers, correspondence, and photographs.

h) Any documents or items tending to show occupancy, ownership, possession or control, including but not limited to utility receipts, mortgage or rent receipts, lease, rental or sale agreements or contracts, credit cards or credit card receipts, letters, other correspondence, and bills related to [property to be search]. . . j)*fn1 Any and all evidence of prostitutes, recruiters, employees or other person associated with the prostitution business described in this warrant, to include but not limited to Seductions Escort Service and internet postings. Such evidence is to include but is not limited to: all identification cards (both valid and false identification cards/documents), luggage tags, suitcases, paperwork, diaries, journals, photographs, correspondence, and other belongings.

k)*fn2 All computer hardware capable of collecting analyzing, creating, displaying, converting, storing, concealing, or transmitting any of the items referred to in paragraphs a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, and j or ...


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