United States v. Alexander, No. 21-2346 (3d Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Investigating drug trafficking based on the report of a confidential informant, the police entered the homes of both Alexander and his girlfriend, without search warrants. Officers entered Alexander’s home and secured the premises, then waited to conduct a search until a warrant was issued. At Alexander’s girlfriend’s home, they secured the premises and were applying for a warrant, which was all but certain to issue, when they received what they understood as consent to a search. Alexander was charged with possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B); possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(i); and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2).
The Third Circuit affirmed the denial of Alexander’s motion to suppress, citing the inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule. There was probable cause to believe Alexander had cocaine and drug-dealing paraphernalia in both houses. Officers had reason to believe that Alexander had been tipped off so that evidence of drug dealing would be imminently destroyed. Exigent circumstances justified the officers entering without a warrant; the search of Alexander’s residence was valid because a warrant was properly issued.