United States v. Carswell, No. 20-1036 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Police saw Carswell driving a Porsche over 100 miles per hour through a 45 mph zone of New Haven, Indiana. When police stopped him, he gave his home address. Law enforcement had suspected Carswell of drug dealing but had not determined where he lived. After ATF Officer Anderson learned of Carswell’s arrest, he carried out surveillance for four days, then obtained a warrant to search the residence for evidence of drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm. The supporting affidavit cited: a trash pull from Carswell’s driveway that turned up evidence of drugs, drug packaging materials, and a firearm purchase; Carswell’s prior drug-related activity; and a tip from a recently-arrested drug dealer who identięed Carswell as his supplier. Officers confiscated 64 grams of heroin, five cell phones, $25,000 in cash, firearms, and ammunition, and drug packaging materials, including two digital scales that field-tested positive for cocaine and a machete laced with marijuana residue.
Carswell was convicted of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and a firearms offense. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The judge who issued the search warrant had a reasonable basis for thinking evidence of drug and firearm crimes was likely to be found at Carswell’s home. The prosecution’s closing arguments were not improper, did not make Carswell’s trial unfair, and did not deny him due process.