who walked over to his car while the transaction was taking
place. The Court further stated that "[A]ny innocent
interpretation is further undermined by the fact that neither
[of the other principals] called off or postponed the delivery
of the drugs despite Lima's presence." Id. at 690.
In United States v. Vravis, 761 F.2d 513, 516 (8th Cir.
1985), the Court held that there was probable cause for agents
to conclude that defendant was the "drug source and was present
to keep an eye on his investment" where defendant was present
in the vicinity of the drug transaction before, during, and
after the sale, was seen standing near the dealer's car, and
the dealer drove to and briefly entered defendant's car
immediately after the transaction. Similarly, in United States
v. Clark, 754 F.2d 789, 791-92 (8th Cir. 1985) the Court found
probable cause for agents to conclude that defendant was
"present in order to act as a lookout . . . or that she might
be armed to provide support . . . in the event violence
erupted" where defendant was present in the dealer's car at all
times before, during and after the drug deal. See also United
States v. Giagoudakis, 693 F. Supp. 1417, 1419 (E.D.N.Y. 1987)
(probable cause to arrest individual who merely advised agents
of drug dealer's location and "was looking around.") aff'd
856 F.2d 480 (2d Cir. 1988). By contrast, in both United States v.
Butts, 704 F.2d 701, 704 (3rd Cir. 1983), and in United States
v. Viera, 569 F. Supp. 1419, 1425 (S.D.N.Y. 1983), no
probable cause was found where an individual was merely
present, but did not appear to be playing any expected role or
performing any expected activity pursuant to that conspiracy.
See 569 F. Supp. at 1425 ("The mere fact that Lanigan was
present when the counterfeit bills were passed does not
constitute probable cause to believe that he was committing a
However, this case is readily distinguishable from cases
where an individual is merely present when a crime is taking
place, but whose conduct does not indicate participation in a
conspiracy or performance of an expected task. In this case
probable cause lay in the combination of the factors of
presence, coordination of activity which appeared to be more
than coincidental,*fn1 the fact that the transaction went
forward in Rodriguez's presence, See United States v. Lima,
819 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 1987), and the agent's knowledge and
experience of the nature of drug purchasing conspiracies
involving large amounts of cash. Based on these factors, Agent
Szeleczky had probable cause to believe that Rodriguez was at
the scene to protect the money and the other two defendants.
"Although no single fact was sufficient by itself to establish
probable cause, the totality of circumstances as appraised by
experienced drug enforcement agents was sufficient." United
States v. Cruz, 834 F.2d 47, 51 (2nd Cir. 1987), cert. denied,
484 U.S. 1077, 108 S.Ct. 1056, 98 L.Ed.2d 1018 (1988).
Rodriguez's arrest was proper. Accordingly, the search of
the passenger compartment of Rodriguez's car was proper as
incident to a lawful arrest. New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454,
460, 101 S.Ct. 2860, 2864, 69 L.Ed.2d 768 (1981) ("[W]hen a
policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of
an automobile, he may, as a contemporaneous incident of that
arrest, search the passenger compartment of that automobile.").
Defendant's motion to suppress is therefore denied.