United States District Court, D. Alaska
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE [DOC.
DEBORAH M. SMITH CHIEF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Kennan Smith has been charged as a felon in possession of a
firearm and ammunition. (Doc. 2.) In this motion, Smith seeks
to suppress evidence seized pursuant to state-issued search
warrants 3AN-18-863 SW and 3AN-18-883 SW. The first of these
warrants allowed police to search Mr. Smith's room at the
Arctic Tern Inn, which led to seizure of a Colt revolver,
various types of ammunition, several cell phones, and a SIM
Card. (Docs. 29, 34.) The second of these warrants authorized
forensic analysis of the recovered cell phones and SIM card.
motion, Defendant Smith asserts that neither search warrant
was supported by probable cause and thus all evidence
obtained from the two searches should be suppressed. (Doc.
government opposes the motion (Doc. 34) arguing, first, that
ample probable cause supports issuance of the warrants and,
secondly, that the exclusionary rule does not apply because
law enforcement relied on the warrants in good faith.
opportunity for presentation of evidence was provided during
a hearing held on January 14, 2019. Neither party called
witnesses. Oral argument followed. (Tr. at Doc. 50.)
FACTS REGARDING THE SEARCH WARRANTS A. Warrant
March 20, 2018, Sgt. Mike Ingram of the Alaska State Troopers
(AST) applied for and received warrant 3AN-18-863 SW to
search Defendant Smith's residence at the Arctic Tern
Inn. (Doc. 29-1 at 5, 11.) The warrant also authorized the
search of two vehicles parked outside the room: a black
Subaru Legacy sedan and a blue Oldsmobile Intrigue sedan.
(Doc. 29-1 at 5.) In support of the application, Sgt.
Ingram's affidavit described information that AST had
received from three tipsters, two of whom were anonymous and
the third unnamed. The affidavit also described subsequent
surveillance conducted in an attempt to verify the
First Anonymous Tipster
first tipster anonymously reported information to Anchorage
Crime Stoppers on February 17, 2018. (Doc. 29-1 at 7) stating
that a black male identified as “Keenan” was
involved with crack cocaine and heroin distribution and in
possession of two fire arms. Id. at 7.
tipster continued to call Crime Stoppers to provide
additional details through March 1, 2018. (Doc. 29-1 at 7.)
The tipster claimed knowledge that “Keenan” had
an active warrant out for his arrest to serve five days in
jail, although the tipster claimed no knowledge of the
alleged crime which resulted in the warrant. Id. at
7. The caller described “Keenan's” physical
appearance as mid-to-late 40s, approximately 5'6”
tall, weighing under 160 lbs., with short brown hair and no
facial hair. Id. The tipster provided two cell phone
numbers for “Keenan”- 907-717-8757 and
907-231-9423-and stated that he lived at the Arctic Tern Inn,
in room #116. Id. The caller also reported that
“Keenan” used a non-operational black car with a
broken rear window for his operation, selling drugs in
“little baggies” to buyers with whom he was
familiar. (Doc. 29-1 at 7.) The tipster additionally stated
that “Keenan” sometimes used a blue Oldsmobile
Alero for his operation and provided a license plate number.
Id. Finally, the tipster said that
“Keenan” sometimes used female runners to help
him sell drugs and gave the name of “Tayla Jones”
as one runner. Id.
Ingram's affidavit does not provide any information about
the basis of the tipster's knowledge, for example,
whether it was first-hand knowledge. The affidavit does,
however, report the information collected and steps taken by
AST to corroborate the tipster's anonymous information.
Ingram's work within the human trafficking unit caused
him to be familiar with “Tayla Jones” and know
her as a convicted prostitute. Id. at 8.
Additionally, the Anchorage Police Department's records
management system listed the number 907-717-8757 as belonging
to Keenan Weldon Smith. Id.
March 19, 2018, Sgt. Ingram drove to the Arctic Tern Inn in
Anchorage. Id. at 8. In the parking lot, he noted a
black 2002 Subaru Legacy sedan with a rear broken window and
no tire tracks leading away from the vehicle, suggesting that
it was inoperable. Id. Ingram's Alaska Public
Safety Information network (APSIN) search of the
vehicle's plates showed it to be registered to Tristin
Donahue and not to Keenan Smith. Id. Finally, Ingram
went inside the Arctic Tern Inn and spoke with the front-desk
clerk, who confirmed Smith resided in room 116 and had for
several months. Id.
March 20, 2018, another investigator assigned to Ingram's
unit, David DeCoeur, conducted surveillance of the Arctic
Tern Inn. (Doc. 29-1 at 8.) Investigator DeCoeur observed a
black male drive a blue Oldsmobile Intrigue into the parking
lot of the Arctic Tern Inn and park. Id. Investigator
DeCoeur expressed 70% certainty that the driver was the
in support of his application, Sgt. Ingram pulled Smith's
criminal history. Id. That history included four
Alaska state drug convictions more than ten years old, and a
California conviction for pimping nearly thirty years old.
Id. The history noted only two convictions occurring
in the past ten years, for leaving the scene of a crash and
driving without a license. Id.
Second Tip by Confidential Informant
second tip was received from a confidential informant
developed by AST in an earlier drug investigation targeting
Smith in April of 2017. (Doc. 29-1 at 8.) The informant
claimed in 2017 that he/she could buy crack cocaine from
Smith and had done so in the past, according to Ingram's
affidavit. Id. However, the investigation had
stalled when the informant was unable to set up a deal.
Id. Sgt. Ingram's affidavit does not include any
information establishing the informant's credibility or
the basis of the informant's knowledge.
Anonymous Third Tipster
third tipster anonymously provided Anchorage Crime Stoppers
with information about a different drug and prostitution ring
in Anchorage. (Doc. 29-1 at 9.) On January 31, 2018, the
tipster claimed knowledge that Keenan Smith was an accomplice
of the tip's target and a drug supplier for that
organization. Id. at 9. The tipster also provided a
phone number for Smith of 717-8757. Id. Sgt.
Ingram's affidavit does not provide any ...