United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
JEFFREY L. VIKEN, CHIEF JUDGE
Nathan Reuer was brought into federal custody on a writ of
habeas corpus ad prosequendum on January 24, 2019. (Docket
5). The writ was supported by a criminal complaint and
affidavit, alleging defendant imported methamphetamine,
fentanyl and heroin. (Docket 1). Defendant made his initial
appearance before Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on January
25, where she temporarily ordered him detained. (Dockets 7
& 10). The magistrate judge held a detention hearing on
February 4 pursuant to the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §
3141 et seq. (Docket 20). At the conclusion of the
hearing, the magistrate judge found a serious risk defendant
would endanger the safety of the community and ordered him
detained pending trial. (Docket 22). On February 5, a grand
jury indicted defendant on three counts of importing
controlled substances (methamphetamine, fentanyl, and a
mixture of heroin and fentanyl) and one count of possession
with intent to distribute heroin. (Docket 23). Defendant now
appeals the magistrate judge's detention order to this
court. For the reasons given below, the court denies
factual recitation given here is based on the allegations in
the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint and the
evidence presented before the magistrate judge at
defendant's detention hearing. The court well understands
that new evidence may emerge as the case progresses. This
factual recitation is necessarily incomplete because of the
early stage of the case. It does not bind the magistrate
judge or the court in any factfinding endeavors that may be
undertaken in response to future motions.
of Homeland Security Special Agent Nicholas Saroff (“SA
Saroff”) was informed by Customs and Border Patrol
(“CBP”) in Detroit, Michigan, that numerous small
packages from Canada and China were being shipped to
defendant at his home in Rapid City, South Dakota. (Docket
1-1 at p. 2). The packages raised suspicion because they
appeared to fit into a larger trend of small, unobtrusive
packages containing controlled substances, including
methamphetamine and fentanyl, being shipped from fictitious
addresses in Canada and China. Id. In late December
of 2018 and early January of 2019, four packages addressed to
defendant were intercepted. Id. at pp. 3-6. Three of
the four packages contained substances which tested positive
for fentanyl. Id. The fourth contained a substance
which tested positive for methamphetamine. Id. at p.
Saroff obtained a search warrant for defendant's person,
vehicle, and common areas of his residence, along with his
bedroom or personal spaces. Id. at p. 6; Docket 27
at p. 4. Defendant lived with his parents and the search
warrant did not permit officers to search portions of the
home primarily used by defendant's parents. Officers
executed the search on January 23 and recovered at least 800
grams of synthetic substances similar to MDMA (also known as
ecstasy) and bath salts. (Docket 27 at pp. 6-8). At the
detention hearing, SA Saroff testified the chemist testing
these synthetic substances found “they had the markers
of . . . illicit and illegal substances.” Id.
at p. 25. Officers also recovered a scale, unknown pills,
steroid-like substances, needles, droppers containing unknown
liquids, tubes for snorting substances, mailing boxes, and
labels. Id. at pp. 6-9. Finally, they observed five
one-kilogram packages of kratom, a legal substance that
defendant's mother believed defendant used as a
bodybuilding supplement. Id. at pp. 25-26. The urine
sample taken from defendant tested positive for
methamphetamine, opiates and THC. SA Saroff did not specify
if the test showed use of a particular opioid.
of defendant's rooms, officers found an active computer
with a Tor browser open. SA Saroff described a Tor browser as
a “gateway to the dark web” that “allows a
user to anonymously utilize the internet to obtain goods or
services . . . for nefarious purposes.” Id. at
p. 11; Docket 1-1 at p. 6. Officers also discovered evidence
of four Bitcoin accounts on the computer. (Docket 27 at p.
11). Following the search, officers continued to intercept
packages sent to defendant. Id. at p. 13. The latest
item intercepted prior to the detention hearing was a letter
from Canada containing heroin laced with fentanyl seized on
February 1. Id. at p. 10.
United States Probation Office recommended defendant be
released on his own recognizance with conditions of release.
(Docket 6 at pp. 3-4). The proposed conditions of release
largely concerned substance use and treatment. Id.
at p. 4. The conditions did not concern computer or mail use.
Defendant asks the court to vacate the detention order and
adopt the Probation Office's recommended conditions of
release. (Docket 28 at pp. 8-9). He also notes the court can
fashion conditions of release involving a ban on internet use
or the use of an internet monitoring program. (Docket 31 at
pp. 4-5). Defendant proposes to reside with his parents.
(Docket 25 at p. 2). His parents submitted affidavits stating
they would allow defendant to reside with them, had no
criminal history and would report violations of any release
conditions. (Dockets 18 & 19).
“If a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge
. . . . the person may file, with the court having original
jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or
amendment of the order. The motion shall be determined
promptly.” 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). A district
court's review of a detention order entered by a
magistrate judge “should proceed de novo.”
United States v. Maull, 773 F.2d 1479, 1481 (8th
Cir. 1985) (en banc).
To engage in a meaningful de novo review, the district court
must have available the options open to the magistrate. . . .
Only after determining that release upon personal
recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond will not
reasonably assure appearance or will endanger the safety of