United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Benson, United States District Court Judge
matter came before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Suppress. An evidentiary hearing was held April 6-7, 2017 on
that motion. Defendant alleged a variety of violations
relating to his arrests on June 10, 2015, August 25, 2015,
and September 14, 2015. The Court took testimony as it
related to the first two arrests. At the hearing Defendant
conceded there were no constitutional violations related to
the September arrest. Having considered the evidence and the
applicable law, the Court enters the following Memorandum
Decision and Order denying Defendant's Motion to
Days Inn (June 9-10, 2015)
the late hours of June 9, 2017, Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike
Force Agent Denton Harper received a tip from a confidential
informant that Brian Schenck was staying at the Clearfield
Days Inn. Defendant was already under investigation for drug
distribution based upon a prior narcotics arrest of Chase
Swertferger, and his admission that Defendant was his
supplier of narcotics.
Strike Force Agents went to the Clearfield Days Inn they
observed Chase Swertferger walking in the parking lot. Agents
contacted Swertferger and inquired as to his activity at the
hotel. During this conversation Swertferger confirmed a
motorcycle observed in the parking lot belonged to Defendant.
While some agents spoke with Swertferger, other agents
contacted the Days Inn front desk employee, who confirmed
Swertferger had rented rooms #224 and #209.
agents then simultaneously approached rooms #224 and #209.
The occupants of #224 answered the door, explained their
travel plans, and permitted agents to search their room. No
other individuals or contraband were located inside the room.
agents knocked on room #209's door, they heard movement
inside and the toilet flushing repeatedly. However, despite
loudly knocking and identifying themselves, no one would
answer the door. Agents then determined to pursue a search
Agents sought the assistance of a police K-9 in conjunction
with obtaining a warrant. Former Davis County Deputy Jeremy
Varella responded to the scene.
that day, Mr. Varella was certified as a K-9 handler, K-9
instructor, and a K-9 judge.
Varella's K-9, Achilles, was also a properly trained and
certified narcotics K-9.
Mr. Varella arrived, agents requested he run his dog on the
second floor of the Days Inn. At no point prior to deploying
his K-9 was Mr. Varella told which room agents were
Varella deployed Achilles by releasing him from his leash and
giving him the signal to search for narcotics. K-9 Achilles
started down the hall and alerted by snapping his head toward
room #209 as he walked past the room. Achilles moved towards
room #209 and began sniffing the seam where the door meets
the floor. After smelling this area K-9 Achilles gave a
positive indication for narcotics by staring. Mr. Varella
then reported the positive indication to the agents.
While Mr. Varella was assisting the investigation inside the
Days Inn, agents went outside to ensure no one escaped from
the back of room #209. When agents came to the back of the
hotel they observed an open window of what appeared to be
room #209, the screen lying on the ground directly below it,
and a coat hanging from a nearby tree.
Fearing that someone had jumped from the window, agents began
searching the immediate area. While doing so agents found
directly behind the open window a black bag containing a
large quantity of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and
U.S. currency. Agents also found a .40 caliber handgun in
close proximity to the black bag.
Agents removed the coat from the tree and located $24, 750 in
one pocket and $4, 890 in the other.
the early morning hours of June 10, 2017, a knock and
announce search warrant for room #209 and Defendant was
approved by Utah State District Court Judge John R. Morris.
Agents knocked on room #209 and announced the search warrant.
After a few moments Defendant answered the door. During the
course of the search police found $3, 019 in currency on
Defendant's person and another $1, 977 in the hotel room.
Days Inn (August 25, 2015)
August 11, 2015, the Riverdale Police Department received a
stolen vehicle complaint. The complainant, Ty Bradley, told a
Riverdale Police Officer that Kenneth Peterson sold his
truck, a 1998 Chevrolet, without permission approximately two
Riverdale Police Detective Joel Pippin investigated this
case. Detective Pippin first contacted Ty Bradley, who
reported that he had heard Ken Peterson stole and ...