This opinion is subject to modification or correction by the court and is not final until the time for rehearing or further review has passed.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge. A defendant appeals a district court's denial of a motion to suppress.
Ryan Mitchell of Orsborn, Milani, Mitchell & Goedken, L.L.P., Ottumwa, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Heather R. Quick, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Brad Waltz, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Mullins, JJ.
Alejandro Manzanares appeals from the district court's denial of a motion to suppress. He argues Officer Zubak did not have reasonable suspicion of a crime to execute an investigatory vehicle stop. We affirm the district court's denial.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings
On March 16, 2011, Investigator Ryan Bellis of the Tri-County Drug Task Force gave information to Waterloo Police Officer Joseph Zubak that a light-skinned man from Minnesota would be trafficking drugs at Flirt's Gentleman's Club in downtown Waterloo that day. Officer Zubak surveyed the area around Flirt's that evening and saw a white Lincoln-Mercury Cougar with Minnesota license plates parked close to Flirt's. He did not see any other vehicle in Flirt's parking lot with Minnesota license plates. Through the use of his in-car computer, Officer Zubak determined that the registered owner of the vehicle with that license plate was Alejandro Manzanares.
Officer Zubak then left Flirt's and returned approximately four hours later, at 12:45 a.m. on March 17, 2011. He watched the same white Minnesota Cougar pull into the Flirt's parking lot. The driver of the Cougar turned off the engine and sat in the vehicle for five or ten minutes. No one approached the vehicle or exited it during that time. The Cougar then drove away from Flirt's, north on Highway 63. Officer Zubak followed the Cougar and ran Manzanares's name and date of birth through his in-car computer in an effort to obtain driver's license information from the Iowa and Minnesota databases. The search turned up no records for Manzanares.
While Officer Zubak was following the Cougar, he pulled up next to the vehicle and looked at the driver. Officer Zubak could see the profile of the driver and determined he appeared to be the same age as the registrant. The Cougar subsequently pulled off the road into the parking lot of a closed video store. Officer Zubak drove past the video store parking lot but watched in the rearview mirror as the Cougar pulled out of the parking lot and continued driving north. Officer Zubak did a u-turn in order to follow the Cougar. As Officer Zubak followed the Cougar, he ran Manzanares's name and date of birth through the Iowa and Minnesota databases again. His search again turned up no driver's license records.
Officer Zubak then stopped the Cougar and asked the driver, Manzanares, to produce his driver's license. Manzanares could not find it in his pockets, so Manzanares gave Officer Zubak his name, date of birth, and social security number. While standing at the Cougar, Officer Zubak could smell marijuana from inside the vehicle. Officer Zubak then had dispatch search using the information Manzanares gave, but dispatch still did not find a driver's license record in the Iowa or Minnesota databases. After going back to the Cougar, Officer Zubak asked Manzanares for anything with his name on it, and Manzanares pulled out his Minnesota driver's license. A backup officer, Officer Nissen, showed up, and Officer Zubak asked him to see if he smelled anything coming from the vehicle. While Officer Nissen spoke with Manzanares, Officer Zubak contacted his dispatcher, who ran Manzanares's driver's license number and found it was valid.
Officer Nissen asked Manzanares whether there was anything illegal in the vehicle, and Manzanares handed him marijuana and a device for smoking it. The officers placed Manzanares under arrest and searched his person. The officers found two baggies of cocaine in Manzanares's pockets and then proceeded to search the vehicle. The officers found ...