United States v. Shannon, No. 13-2389 (3d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration worked with confidential informants and identified Beaver County cocaine distributor, Taylor, and, through wiretaps, were able to observe part of a delivery of cocaine. According to Taylor, who later testified for the government, he drove to a hotel near the Pittsburgh Airport carrying a bag full of cash. He met with the cocaine supplier, Middlebrooks from Houston, who drove to Washington County to pick up the drugs for transfer to Taylor. The DEA obtained a “roving wiretap” on Taylor’s communications, which was used to follow a second transaction between Taylor and Middlebrooks. Agents saw Middlebrooks back his vehicle up to a tractor-trailer rig, open his trunk, and then hand the bag full of packaged cash to a man (Shannon) standing beside the rig. Taylor and Middlebrooks were taken into custody. A black bag containing a large amount of cocaine was found in the trunk of Middlebrooks’s car. Shannon was arrested at the truck stop. Agents found the bag, which contained $669,340, plus $1000 in the truck’s glove compartment. The Third circuit vacated Shannon’s conviction because the government asked inappropriate questions regarding Shannon’s post-arrest silence, in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights.