United States v. Williams, No. 16-3547 (3d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
A DEA officer learned that Williams bought heroin in Detroit, which he sold in Pittsburgh, and placed a GPS tracker on Williams’s car to monitor his movements.. The officer planned to have Williams’s car stopped upon its return to Pennsylvania. That evening, Pennsylvania State Trooper Volk observed Williams’s car speeding, stopped it, issued a citation, and told Williams that he was free to go. Before Williams left, Trooper Volk asked for consent to search his car. Williams signed a “Waiver of Rights and Consent to Search.” Troopers searched Williams’s car. Unable to locate any narcotics, they requested a narcotics-detection dog. Williams eventually stated: “you searched my car three times, now you hold me up and I have to go.” There was a lot of noise from traffic and the wind and, other than Williams’s testimony, there was no evidence that Trooper Volk heard this. The search continued. Williams told the officers not to search his phone without a warrant. Williams objected when troopers began to disassemble Williams’s speakers, stating “I’ve been out here half an hour, man.” Seventy-one minutes into the search, Trooper Volk discovered 39 grams of heroin in a sleeve covering the car’s parking brake lever. Williams pled guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of his motion to suppress and his 160-month sentence. Williams did not unequivocally withdraw his consent to the search.