The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Defendant Carlos Troche ("Troche") has moved (1) to suppress
the physical evidence seized from his car on November 4, 2000,
as well as any subsequent statements made by Troche on that
date, because law enforcement officers lacked "reasonable
suspicion" to stop him; (2) to suppress the physical evidence
seized from his car because law enforcement officers did not
have his consent to search his vehicle; (3) to suppress any
statements Troche made to law enforcement on November 4, 2000 at
the offices of the United States Customs Service ("Customs")
because he was not advised of his Miranda rights and a
reasonable person in his position would not have felt at liberty
to leave; and (4) to suppress any statements made to law
enforcement on March 8, 2001, following his arrest, because he
was not advised of his Miranda rights. For the reasons stated
below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
On March 27, 2001, Troche was charged in a one-count
indictment with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). On June 4, 2001, Troche filed
the instant motion to suppress. After the parties made their
respective submissions, an evidentiary hearing was held on
November 1, 2001, at which parties requested and received leave
to file post-hearing briefs. On December 26, 2001, the motion
was marked fully submitted.
On the afternoon of November 4, 2000, however, Sayed informed
DiGregorio that he had received a telephone call regarding a
pick up of approximately $500,000 in drug proceeds from an
individual in the vicinity of Broadway and West 72nd Street in
Manhattan. The transaction was to occur that same evening at
approximately 7:00 P.M. Based on Sayed's call, DiGregorio
assembled a field team of agents and later met separately with
the team and with Sayed. Pursuant to a plan devised by the field
team, DiGregorio instructed Sayed to signal him with a nod when
the delivery person made contact. Sayed was also able to provide
information by cellular telephone, and was instructed to run
away when agents approached to protect his identity and safety.
That evening, agents established their surveillance posts in
the vicinity of West 72nd Street and Broadway, and Sayed took
his post on the south side of 72nd Street between West End
Avenue and Broadway. Between 8:00 and 8:30 P.M., after having
waited about an hour, DiGregorio, who was standing due east of
Sayed, observed Sayed on the telephone. Sayed then called
DiGregorio and told him that the courier had arrived, and that
he was in a Lincoln taxi. Meanwhile, Detective Matthew Murphy
("Murphy") of the New York City Police Department, who had been
positioned on the north side of 72nd Street, had observed a
black Lincoln Town Car circling the block a few times, and the
driver, who was talking on a cellular telephone, appeared to be
looking for someone. Special Agent Nelson Cortes ("Cortes") of
the New York State Commission of Investigations also observed
the Lincoln circling the area several times.
Eventually, Troche, the driver of the vehicle, performed an
illegal U-turn on 72nd Street and approached the area in which
Sayed was standing. Troche then illegally parked his car on the
south side of 72nd Street. Sayed approached the car and engaged
Troche in conversation through the passenger-side window. Sayed
nodded to DiGregorio, who advised the field team that the target
had been identified. Approximately eight armed agents then
surrounded the car, and Sayed ran away pursuant to the
pre-arranged plan. Several officers began speaking to Troche at
the same time. Troche, who speaks Spanish but does not speak
English, was asked for his driver's license and registration. He
was also asked why he was at the location and why the individual
standing at his window (Sayed) had run away. Troche responded
that he was there to meet someone, but that he did not know why
the person ran. When asked if the person who had run away was
the person he was supposed to meet, Troche responded "no, I
don't know" and claimed that he did not see the person run away.
(Tr. at 19). Troche was directed to step out of the vehicle and
was subjected to a pat-down search.
When the trunk was opened, the agents found a suitcase that
contained a significant amount of United States currency, later
determined to be approximately $500,000. The officers asked
Troche whether he wanted a receipt for the currency, and he
replied that he did. Troche was told that, in order to obtain
the receipt, he would have to accompany them to the Customs
offices at the World Trade Center.*fn2 Troche was told that
he would have to be handcuffed for safety purposes on the trip
to the Customs office.
The officers handcuffed Troche behind his back and put him in
a police vehicle. Upon arrival at the Customs office, the
officers drove Troche through a secure garage area, past a
security guard and motorized barricade. The officers escorted
Troche on a secure elevator to the El Dorado task force offices.
Officers bypassed a publicly accessible reception area and took
Troche to a secure arrest processing area across the hall.
Troche was then placed in an interview room in the arrest
processing area, which also contained a holding cell.
While in the interview room, Troche, who was no longer
handcuffed, spoke with Agent Millie Martin ("Marin"). Marin
asked Troche about his nationality and the two discussed several
personal matters concerning his background. Troche was not given
Miranda warnings prior to or during the questioning, but made
several inculpatory statements regarding the money that had been
seized. At the hearing, Marin testified that Troche voluntarily
stated this information, but that she would follow-up to clarify
"a lot." (Tr. at 96, 101). A contemporaneous investigatory
report by Cortes indicates that the officers "extensively
debriefed" Troche. (Confidential Report by Sgt. Nelson Cortes
dated Nov. 5, 2000). After the debriefing, the officers
consulted with Assistant United States Attorney Nikki Kowalski,
who determined that Troche would not be prosecuted at that time.
At approximately 11:00 P.M., Troche was given a receipt for the
money that had been seized and was permitted to leave.
On March 1, 2001, Murphy filed a criminal complaint against
Troche based on the events of November 4, 2000. An arrest
warrant was obtained, and Troche was arrested on March 8, 2001
while he was working. Troche was handcuffed, placed in a police
vehicle, and transported to the Customs office at the World
Trade Center, where he was processed. Troche was advised of his
Miranda rights in Spanish and signed a waiver of those rights.
Murphy and another officer who spoke Spanish administered the
rights, and the Spanish-speaking officer explained what the