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UNITED STATES v. CADMUS

July 26, 1985

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SAMUEL CADMUS, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAM

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM, U.S.D.J.

 The above-captioned action is before the Court upon defendant's motion to suppress certain statements obtained from him by Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") detention officers. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.

 BACKGROUND

 The defendant Samuel Cadmus is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. On April 17, 1984, Cadmus filed this motion to suppress certain statements which were obtained prior to his arrest on these charges. On June 25, 1985, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on Cadmus' motion. From the testimony adduced at that hearing and the papers submitted on the motion, the Court finds that the facts set out below describe the relevant history of this case for this motion.

 Cadmus is a Nigerian national. His primary language is Yoruban, but he speaks and understands a little English. On February 8, 1985, Cadmus was detained upon his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he presented a false passport. He was transported to the INS detention center at 201 Varick Street in Manhattan, where he was to be held pending deportation.

 On February 15, 1985, after one week of detention, Cadmus had a visitor at the INS detention center. He met with this individual in the detention center's visiting area, which is set up to allow contact visits (Tr. 8-9, 30).* After the visit, Cadmus was strip-searched by Detention Officer Sigfredo Hernandez, in accordance with standard procedures prior to re-entry into the detention center population (Tr. 5). During the strip-search, Officer Hernandez found an item secreted in Cadmus' right sock. The item was approximately six inches in length, cylindrical, and was wrapped in brown paper with a tight, white tape on it (Tr. 5, 13).

 Officer Hernandez knew that Cadmus was not permitted to possess such an item within the detention facility (Tr. 6). He asked Cadmus what the object was, to which Cadmus allegedly responded that it was a religious object (Tr. 5). Officer Hernandez also discovered $100 to Cadmus' possession, an amount in excess of that permitted to be carried by a detainee within the facility (Tr. 9-11). He brought Cadmus to see his supervisor, Officer Oppie Johnson, ostensibly to have the item and the money stored with Cadmus' personal property (Tr. 6).

 Johnson's office is located approximately one-half city block (within the same building) from the search area (Tr. 29). Hernandez and Cadmus walked side-by-side down the hallway through three locked gates to get to Johnson's office (Tr. 17-19).

 When Hernandez and Cadmus reached Johnson's office, Hernandez noticed that Cadmus no longer was carrying the cylindrical item (Tr. 6). Hernandez twice asked Cadmus what he had done with the cylindrical object (Tr. 7) or where it was (Tr. 35). Cadmus allegedly responded that he did not have it (Tr. 7) or that he did not know what Hernandez was talking about (Tr. 35). Thereafter, Johnson told Hernandez to go back over the route between the search area and his office to see if the item could be located. Hernandez did so, although it is unclear from the testimony whether Cadmus went with Hernandez (Tr. 36) or not (Tr. 7, 19).

 While Hernandez was searching for the item, Johnson found it on the floor near his office (Tr. 26). Johnson verified with Hernandez that the item he found was the one that Hernandez had discovered in Cadmus' sock (Tr. 20, 39). Johnson asked Cadmus questions about the item. Johnson asked Cadmus what the object was; Cadmus allegedly responded that he did not know (Tr. 26, 39). Then Johnson asked Cadmus whether it was his; Cadmus allegedly responded that it was not (Tr. 26, 39). Then Johnson asked Cadmus whether he knew whose it was, and Cadmus allegedly responded first that it was his brother's but then retracted that and said he did not know whose it was (Tr. 26, 39).

 At some point thereafter Johnson discovered that the object had a strong odor of feces (Tr. 38, 39). Hernandez had not noticed the odor (Tr. 15).

 Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") contents of the object, and determined that it contained a quantity of heroin. The DEA agents then arrested Cadmus and advised him of his Miranda rights. The DEA agents took Cadmus' statement wherein he apparently denied any knowledge of the object. These charges ensued.

 The statement obtained by the DEA agents has not been challenged. Cadmus moves to suppress all statements obtained from him by Hernandez and Johnson, however, on the grounds that they were ...


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