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United States of America v. Jared K. Singh

June 27, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JARED K. SINGH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dora L. Irizarry, United States District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

On February 14, 2012, defendant Jared K. Singh ("Defendant") was indicted for conspiring to import 500 grams or more of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 963, 960(a)(1) and (b)(2)(B)(ii), as well as 18 U.S.C. § 3551 et seq. On May 3, 2012, Defendant moved pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to suppress statements he made to Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") officers and physical evidence seized by the CPB. Defendant also moved to compel discovery of various materials, including Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500, and Brady materials, and sought "leave to supplement and/or amend" any of Defendant's motions. The government opposed Defendant's motions. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motions are denied in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

The following background is taken mostly from the complaints filed against Defendant and his co-defendant, Auria Torres ("Co-conspirator #1"), as they are the only sworn evidentiary materials currently in the record, and are thus undisputed for purposes of these motions.

On January 16, 2012, Co-conspirator #1 arrived with a friend ("Friend") at John F. Kennedy International Airport ("JFK") aboard a Caribbean Airlines flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad. (Singh Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, ¶¶ 1-2.) At the airport, the Friend's luggage was inspected by a CBP officer. (Id. ¶ 3.) The CBP officer discovered six packages of what appeared to be white powdered milk in the Friend's luggage. (Id.) The CPB officer field tested the packages and the powder in two of the packages tested positive for cocaine. (Id.) The packages containing the cocaine were found in a small red suitcase, with "J P Singh" written in marker on the outside. (Torres Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, ¶¶ 5-6.) After waiving her Miranda rights, Co-conspirator #1 admitted to the authorities, inter alia, that she knew that narcotics were in the Friend's luggage, and explained that they had been put in the Friend's baggage in Trinidad at Defendant's direction. (Id. ¶ 6.)

The following day, Defendant arrived at JFK on a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad. (Singh Compl. ¶ 6; see also Def.'s Pre-trial Mots., Dkt. Entry 17, ¶ 1.) After disembarking his flight, Defendant was selected for an inspection by the CBP. (Singh Compl. ¶ 7; see also Def.'s Pre-trial Mots. ¶ 3.) During the inspection, Defendant presented a red suitcase for examination, with "J P Singh" written in marker on the outside. (Singh Compl. ¶ 7.) Defendant's suitcase appeared to be similar to the one containing cocaine seized the day before from the Friend and Co-conspirator #1. (Id.) The CBP also apparently seized Defendant's cell phone and searched the data on the telephone. (See Def.'s Mem., Dkt. Entry 17, at 6.) Defendant was then arrested at JFK and informed of his Miranda rights. (Singh Compl. ¶ 8.) After waiving his Miranda rights, Defendant admitted, inter alia, that he had provided Co-conspirator #1 with the red suitcase she used to carry the cocaine seized the day before and that he intended to pay Co-conspirator #1 for importing the cocaine into the United States. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.)

Defendant was arraigned on the filed complaint on January 18, 2012, and a federal grand jury indicted him on February 14, 2012, charging him with one count of conspiracy to import 500 grams or more of cocaine. (See Indictment, Dkt. Entry 7, at 1-2.) On May 3, 2012, Defendant moved to suppress the statements he made to the authorities and the physical evidence seized from him at JFK. Defendant also moved to compel discovery from the government. (See generally Def.'s Pre-trial Mots.)

DISCUSSION

I. Motions to Suppress

A. Failure to Submit Affidavit

As an initial matter, Defendant's motions to suppress are denied without a hearing because he failed to submit an affidavit in support of the motions and, as such, the motions are insufficient as a matter of law. In the Second Circuit, "an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress ordinarily is required if the moving papers are sufficiently definite, specific, detailed, and nonconjectural to enable the court to conclude that contested issues of fact going to the validity of the search are in question." United States v. Watson, 404 F. 3d 163, 167 (2d Cir. 2005) (quotation marks omitted). Courts in this Circuit have "repeatedly" denied motions to suppress without a hearing "where defendants have failed to provide affidavits alleging facts based on personal knowledge." United States v. Larranga Lopez, 2006 WL 1307963, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. May 11, 2006) (citing cases); see also United States v. Shaw, 260 F. Supp. 2d 567, 570 (E.D.N.Y. 2003) ("[I]n the absence of an affidavit based on personal knowledge, no evidence exists to dispute the facts described by the Government."); United States v. Aparo, 221 F. Supp. 2d 359, 369 (E.D.N.Y. 2002) (denying motion to suppress where defendant had "not submitted an affidavit alleging facts which would require the suppression of statements if those facts were proved at a hearing."); United States v. Fruchter, 104 F. Supp. 2d 289, 308 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("To create a factual dispute, defendant must submit sworn factual allegations from an affiant with personal knowledge."); United States v. Simpkins, 1996 WL 629567, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 16, 1996) ("The motion is denied on the ground that defendant has failed to provide an affidavit based on her own personal knowledge."); United States v. Brumby, 1992 WL 373686, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 1992) ("The government argues that Sanders' motions to suppress are not supported by an affidavit based on personal knowledge and therefore insufficient as a matter of law. This Court agrees.").

Here, Defendant has not submitted any affidavits, let alone affidavits based upon personal knowledge, rebutting the government's version of events. Instead, Defendant, through his attorney, has presented only an unsworn "Factual Background" in his motion and memorandum of law, which, in any event, fails to provide a version of events that materially contradicts the facts presented by the government. (See generally Def.'s Pre-trial Mots. ¶¶ 1-8; Def.'s Mem. 2-3.) In opposition to Defendant's motions to suppress, the government re-submits the complaint against Defendant in this matter, which is a sworn statement by a Special Agent with the United States Department of Homeland Security, describing the search of Defendant's belongings, Defendant's post-arrest interview and arrest. (See generally Singh Compl.) As discussed further below, the information provided in the sworn Complaint, as well as information provided in the sworn complaint against the co-defendant in this case, are sufficient to show that the search of Defendant and his arrest were lawful. Therefore, Defendant's motions to suppress his post-arrest statements and physical evidence are denied without a hearing.

Notwithstanding the fact that Defendant's motions are denied because he has not submitted any affidavits in support of his motion, for the reasons set forth below, Defendant's ...


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