The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge
In accordance with Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(a)(3) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 3401, the undersigned has the authority and jurisdiction to conduct all proceedings in this matter, including trial.
The defendant, Samvel Iskandaryan, is charged in a one count Misdemeanor Information with having violated Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1325(a)(1) and (2). Dkt. #5. Specifically, the defendant is charged with knowingly entering and attempting to enter the United States at a place other than as designated by immigration officers, to wit, the Lewiston Landing in Lewiston, New York and in so doing, did knowingly elude examination and inspection by immigration officers. Id. Presently pending before this Court is the defendant's motion to suppress the defendant's statements made to local law enforcement and a United States Border Patrol Officer at the scene. Dkt. #2 (erroneously filed in 10-CR-118). During the July 28, 2010 oral argument of defendant's motion, the Court advised counsel for the parties that it would treat defendant's motion to suppress as a motion in limine. For the following reasons, the defendant's motion to suppress is denied and the defendant's statements to local law enforcement and Agent Henderson are admissible at trial.
During the afternoon on March 8, 2010, a fisherman spotted the defendant sitting, without a life jacket, in a small inflatable raft in the Niagara River.
Dkt. #9, p.2. The fisherman contacted law enforcement. Id. As described in the government's response to the instant motion to suppress, the defendant and his raft "landed on the shoreline at the Lewiston Landing, where he was met by a Lewiston Police Officer (Officer Michael Schuey) and a member of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office (Trooper Edward Stefik). At that time, the defendant identified himself as Samvel Iskandaryan and presented to Officer Schuey and Trooper Stefik his United States Resident Alien Card and his Armenian Passport. Id. As described in the government's response to the instant motion, the defendant provided various accounts of how he came to be on the shore and where he had been. Id. In addition, the government states, "[a]t the time he landed on shore, he [the defendant] had a modest amount of currency, both Canadian and U.S., some business cards belonging to his brother, a resident in Canada, an empty backpack, a set of rental car keys and his own identification." Id.
On March 8, 2010, at approximately 1:00 p.m., United States Border Patrol Agent Douglas A. Henderson responded to a Lewiston Police Department request for Border Patrol assistance at the Lewiston Landing in Lewiston, New York. Dkt. #1, ¶ 3. When Agent Henderson arrived at the Lewiston Landing, he met with Lewiston Police Officer Schuey who explained that he observed the defendant traveling in a small inflatable raft across the Niagara River. Id. Officer Schuey further explained that he ordered the defendant to move to the Lewiston Landing to speak with him "as it appeared that his traveling via inflatable raft on the Niagara River was dangerous due to the extremely dangerous current and cold water." Id. Officer Schuey explained to Agent Henderson that he requested Border Patrol assistance as it appeared that the defendant was attempting entry into the United States from Canada without inspection. Id.
Agent Henderson explained in his affidavit that he identified himself as a Border Patrol Agent to the defendant and performed an immigration inspection. Id. at ¶ 4. During this immigration inspection, Agent Henderson asked the defendant about his citizenship and in response, the defendant presented Agent Henderson with his Armenian Passport and a United States Resident Alien Card. Id. Thereafter, Agent Henderson asked the defendant why he was traveling across the Niagara River and the defendant advised that he had "left Canada and paddled his raft across the Niagara River." Id. As set forth in Agent Henderson's Affidavit, [the defendant] further explained that he intended to enter the United States. The reason given by [the defendant] as to why he was trying to enter by raft, rather than present himself at the border was that in June or July 2009, he had left the United States, and entered Canada without inspection. He feared his exit from the United States jeopardized his status here, and thus, he tried to regain entry into the United States without inspection.
Id. at ¶¶ 4-5. In its response to the instant motion, the government states that "[t]he defendant continued to provide a variety of explanations as to his presence, in a raft, at the Lewiston landing." Dkt. #9, p.3.
Thereafter, the government explains that Agent Henderson transported the defendant to the Border Patrol offices to confirm his status in the United States and to run various record checks. Id. Moreover, the government states that as the defendant was getting into Agent Henderson's vehicle, the defendant "blurted out that he had put the raft in the river in Canada." Id. at p.14.
While at the Border Patrol offices, records were checked to determine the defendant's status in the United States. Also while at the Border Patrol offices, the defendant was informed of his Miranda warnings and the defendant signed a waiver of his rights and provided a sworn statement. In that sworn statement, "Iskandaryan admitted entering Canada illegally (he says in June or July 2009), then attempting to illegally enter the United States surreptitiously, thus avoiding any record of his presence in Canada." Id. at p.3.
The defendant was initially charged in a one count Criminal Complaint on March 9, 2010 with violating Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1325(a)(1) and (2). Dkt. #1. On May 4, 2010, the government filed a Misdemeanor Information charging the defendant with violating Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1325(a)(1) and (2). Dkt. #5. Thereafter, on June 30, 2010, the defendant filed the instant motion to suppress the defendant's statements.
Relying exclusively on the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the defendant argues that, [w]hen the border patrol officer approached defendant, Iskandaryan and questioned him about his actions, he caused defendant Iskandaryan to respond in a way as he would during an interrogation. Without the proper warnings, the border patrol officer ...