United States v. Garcia-Hernandez, No. 10-2146 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Investigation of a massive drug-trafficking operation led to apprehension of Ramirez, who admitted that he and defendant were partners in a franchise of the larger drug-trafficking ring. Defendant's residence was searched by 18 officers and a dog; they drove an armored vehicle onto the lawn and parked in front of a picture window, detonated noise-flash devices, causing windows to shatter, and, carrying assault rifles, breached the door with a battering ram and stormed into the residence. The district court denied a motion to suppress, accepted a conditional guilty plea to charges of distribution of, and conspiracy to distribute, in excess of five kilograms of cocaine (21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), 846) and imposed a 200-month sentence. The First Circuit affirmed. Regardless of whether the the officers' conduct amounts to violation of the knock-and-announce rule or even violation of the knock-and-announce rule involving the use of excessive force, an exclusionary remedy is not available. Upward adjustment of the sentence was justified; defendant managed at least one other participant in the criminal enterprise so that sentencing guideline section 3B1.1(b) applied.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 24, 2012.