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United States v. Crisolis-Gonzalez

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

February 10, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Giovani Crisolis-Gonzalez, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted November 21, 2013.

As Corrected February 11, 2014.

Page 831

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 832

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Patrick Damian Daly, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Kansas City, MO.

Giovani Crisolis-Gonzalez, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Yazoo City, MS.

For Giovani Crisolis-Gonzalez, Defendant - Appellant: Melanie Susan Morgan, MORGAN & PILATE, Kansas City, MO.

Before BENTON, BEAM, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 833

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

Giovani Crisolis-Gonzalez was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841 and 846, and illegal reentry of an alien in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a). Crisolis-Gonzalez appeals the district court's[1] denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained and statements elicited while the agents conducted a " knock and talk" [2] at Crisolis-Gonzalez's residence. We affirm.

I.

During his investigation of a series of drug trafficking cases in St. Joseph, Missouri, Special Agent Jose Covarrubias of Homeland Security Investigations received information from a confidential informant that Crisolis-Gonzalez had entered the country illegally, was involved in trafficking methamphetamine, and had possibly purchased a firearm. As a result of receiving this information, two special agents were assigned to conduct surveillance of the apartment complex where Crisolis-Gonzalez was believed to be staying. At the complex, the agents located a vehicle they believed belonged to Crisolis-Gonzalez and informed Agent Covarrubias. Agent Covarrubias and another special agent joined the other two at the complex in order to conduct a " knock and talk," intending to obtain further information about Crisolis-Gonzalez.

Agent Covarrubias approached the apartment believed to house Crisolis-Gonzalez and knocked on the door. Mr. Reyes-Savedra, boyfriend and roommate of one of the lessees, opened the door, and Agent Covarrubias asked, in Spanish, if he could come in to speak with him. Reyes-Savedra agreed and stepped aside to let the agents in. Upon entering the apartment, the agents noticed a baby and a woman, later identified as Crisolis-Gonzalez's girlfriend, Yuliet Lara-Andres, in the kitchen. Agent Covarrubias then asked if anyone else was in the home. Neither Reyes-Savedra nor Lara-Andres answered. After being asked again, Reyes-Savedra paused and turned his head slightly towards the hallway.

Interpreting Reyes-Savedra's hesitance and slight head turn as indicating that other people were in the house, the agents drew ...


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