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United States v. Gunnell

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 12, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
James Earl Gunnell, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted November 13, 2014.

Page 1080

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

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Gary K. Milligan, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Springfield, MO.

For James Earl Gunnell, Defendant - Appellant: Donald R. Cooley, Springfield, MO.

James Earl Gunnell, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Lompoc, CA.

Before BYE, SHEPHERD, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1081

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

James Earl Gunnell was convicted of possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 851. The district court sentenced Gunnell to 240 months' imprisonment. Gunnell appeals the district court's[1] denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a traffic stop. Having jurisdiction to consider this appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

I. Background

On August 25, 2011, James Gunnell was the subject of a police investigation that led to his arrest. Gunnell was observed driving a 2000 Kawasaki motorcycle in Springfield, Missouri, by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Task Force Officers (TFOs) who had information to believe Gunnell was a multi-pound dealer of methamphetamine. TFO Justin Arnold contacted TFO Eric Hawkins and informed him of Gunnell's location. TFO Hawkins then contacted Springfield Police Department Sergeant David Meyer to ask that Sgt. Meyer be in the general surveillance area to assist if necessary. TFO Hawkins told Sgt. Meyer that Gunnell was suspected of drug-related activity and was possibly carrying a weapon. Sgt. Meyer was also instructed to " develop probable

Page 1082

cause" to stop Gunnell in order to search his person and his motorcycle, if possible. Sgt. Meyer then contacted K-9 Officer Kyle Tjelmeland and asked him to be available in the ...


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