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United States v. Hooks

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

April 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RAFAEL LOPEZ HOOKS, Defendant.

ORDER

DAVID C. NORTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on defendant Rafael Lopez Hooks's ("Hooks") motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, the court denies Hooks's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

On October 31, 2013, Agent B. Marlow ("Marlow"), a deputy with the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, prepared a search warrant application for Hooks's residence. In an affidavit submitted with the warrant application, Marlow stated:

I am a Deputy with the Georgetown Sheriffs Office currently assigned to the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit. I have been certified in the State of South Carolina as a police officer for twenty years. I have received training in many facets of law enforcement to include narcotics investigations. I have been involved with and completed numerous investigations specifically involving narcotics distribution.
Between October 24, 2013 and October 31, 2013 agents from the 15th Circuit DEU documented a drug transaction between a confidential informant and an occupant within the premises to be searched. As a result of the documented drug transaction, agents recovered the controlled substance and it field tested positively as being crack cocaine base.
The subject involved in the drug transaction is known to be a regular occupant of the residence. Based on the above stated facts there is probable cause to believe that residence above contains controlled substances being illegally sold, official police funds, and/or items and instrumentalities used for the unlawful distribution and/or use of controlled substances/drugs.

Gov't's Resp. Ex. 1.

During an October 31, 2013 search of Hooks's residence pursuant to the warrant, officers found two firearms, ammunition, scales, a small baggie of crack cocaine, and marijuana. On September 10, 2014, Hooks was indicted for three counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On November 26, 2014, Hooks filed the instant motion to suppress. The government responded on November 18, 2014. This matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for the court's review.

II. DISCUSSION

Hooks asserts that the search warrant issued was not supported by probable cause and that the seizure of evidence pursuant to that search warrant is not saved by the good faith exception. Def.'s Mot. 1.

The Fourth Amendment provides that:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly ...

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