United States District Court, S.D. New York
the Government: Max Nicholas Sidhardha Kamaraju Jane Kim
Assistant United States Attorneys United States
Defendant Charles Kenyatta: Camille Marie Abate Abate &
Defendant Charles Kenyatta: Anthony Cecutti Law Office of
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
COTE, District Judge.
Charles Kenyatta and fifteen co-defendants are charged with
conspiring to distribute narcotics. Kenyatta has moved to
suppress all his statements recorded pursuant to four Title
III wiretaps and for additional discovery. For the following
reasons, the motion is denied.
Title III wiretap orders pertaining to Kenyatta were issued
between December 9, 2015 and March 28, 2016 by four different
district judges of this court. The first order authorized the
interception of communications over two cellphones believed
to be used by Efrain Sanchez and Tyrone Schultz. The order
did not name Kenyatta as a target subject. Kenyatta was among
those whose conversations were intercepted pursuant to the
December 9 order. The second, third, and fourth orders
authorized interception of communications over a phone used
by Kenyatta. Kenyatta was named as a target subject in each
of those applications and his communications were intercepted
pursuant to each wiretap.
affiant for each of the affidavits supporting the
Government's applications for the wiretaps was Special
Agent Christopher Serotta of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. In his first affidavit Special Agent Serotta
listed eighteen different individuals he had reason to
believe were involved in the distribution of controlled
substances and the use of firearms in relation to that
activity. Agent Serotta described the
investigators' use of confidential sources to buy crack
cocaine from the drug-trafficking organizations under
investigation, calls made under the supervision of the
investigators to drug dealers, evidence obtained through the
execution of a search warrant, and an analysis of pen
register data. Over the course of eight pages, Agent Serotta
explained the reasons why normal investigative procedures
would not achieve the objectives underlying the Title III
application. Those objectives included the discovery, to the
greatest extent possible, of the identities of the target
subjects and their co-conspirators, the locations of their
activities, and their methods for violating the law. In those
eight pages Special Agent Serotta also discussed the
limitations in using undercover agents, confidential
informants and cooperating witnesses, physical surveillance,
geolocation information, telephone records and pen registers,
pole cameras, the Grand Jury, search warrants, or arrests.
time of his fourth application, Special Agent Serotta's
discussion of the limitations of alternative investigative
procedures had grown to twelve pages. It continued to discuss
each of the alternative means addressed in his first
affidavit, as well as the insights already gained from the
Title III surveillance conducted pursuant to the three prior
April 13, 2016, Kenyatta and fifteen co-defendants were
indicted on federal narcotics conspiracy
charges. In his pretrial motion, Kenyatta seeks to
suppress all of his recorded statements pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 2518, contending that the Government's wiretap
applications and supporting affidavits do not adequately
allege that the wiretaps were necessary in light of the
success of alternative investigative techniques. He also
raises various discovery issues.
Kenyatta's co-defendants have entered pleas of guilty.
The trial of the conspiracy charge against Kenyatta and two
of his co-defendants is scheduled to begin on April 3, 2017.
Suppression of Title III Intercepted Communications
III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968
(“Title III”) governs court-ordered interceptions
of oral communications. United States v. Lee, 723
F.3d 134, 139 (2d Cir. 2013). The statute strikes a
“balance between the needs of law enforcement officials
and the privacy rights of the ...