Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Petruck

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 11, 2019

United States of America Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
Elfred William Petruk Defendant-Appellant United States of America Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
Elfred William Petruk Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: February 15, 2019

          Appeals from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

          Before LOKEN, COLLOTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

          KELLY, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         A jury convicted Elfred Petruk of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphet-amine, in violation of § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). Petruk was serving a term of supervised release for a prior conviction at the time he committed these offenses. After sentencing him to concurrent 372-month terms of imprisonment on each methamphetamine count, the district court[1] revoked Petruk's supervised release and imposed a consecutive 30-month prison sentence. In these consolidated appeals, Petruk challenges the district court's[2] pretrial denial of his motion to suppress evidence and its posttrial revocation of supervised release.

         I

         Over a two-week period in September 2016, law enforcement officers across two states obtained four warrants to search three vehicles associated with Petruk: a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro (Camaro), a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck (Silverado), and a 2005 Chrysler 300 (Chrysler). Three of the warrants permitted officers to install Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices on each of the vehicles. The fourth warrant allowed them to search the Chrysler. The affidavits supporting each warrant application contained largely the same information, but because Petruk challenges each warrant as unsupported by probable cause, we detail below the information contained in each of the affidavits. See United States v. O'Dell, 766 F.3d 870, 874 (8th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) ("When the issuing judge relied solely upon the supporting affidavit to issue the search warrant, only that information which is found within the four corners of the affidavit may be considered in determining the existence of probable cause." (cleaned up)).

         On September 7, 2016, Investigator Scott Williams from the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force applied for a warrant to install the GPS tracker on the Camaro. His supporting affidavit detailed information that different officers had received from four separate confidential informants (CI) connecting Petruk and multiple vehicles to methamphetamine trafficking in the Duluth area. In July 2016, CI-1 informed an officer that Petruk was selling large quantities of methamphetamine and that Petruk primarily drove the Chrysler. The following month, CI-2 told another officer that Petruk was "moving multiple pound quantities of methamphetamine and [was] supplying other known methamphetamine dealers in the [Duluth] area." CI-2 also said that Petruk drove the Chrysler. Also in August, another law enforcement officer received a tip from CI-3 that Petruk had "teamed up" with other known methamphetamine dealers in the area, whom the CI named. In September, CI-3 told the same officer that Petruk "was in possession of a very large quantity of meth and U.S. currency." On both occasions, CI-3 told the officer that Petruk drove multiple vehicles. Finally, CI-4 told Williams in August that Petruk was "moving a lot of weight" of methamphetamine and "driving around in a black Chrysler 300 that 'sticks out, '" and in September told Williams that Petruk was "supplying the town with . . . meth." Williams's affidavit stated that all four CIs said that Petruk's large-scale methamphetamine trafficking would "require him to re-up his supply often." It also included the type of information each of the CIs had previously provided to law enforcement, which had led to the issuance of multiple search warrants, the seizure of contraband, and the arrest of numerous individuals on drug-related offenses.

         According to Williams's affidavit, officers had also independently corroborated some of the information provided by the CIs, in particular with respect to Petruk's vehicles. In late July 2016, Duluth police officers pulled over the Chrysler, and Petruk, who was riding in the passenger seat, claimed to own the car. In late August and early September 2016, officers saw Petruk driving the Camaro with the Silverado following closely behind, which led the officers to believe Petruk was conducting countersurveillance to avoid detection. On one of the occasions, the Silverado was driven by Gina Klobuchar. Officers knew Klobuchar was involved in the drug trade, and they had received a tip that she might be working with Petruk.

         Based on this information, Williams sought a warrant to place a GPS tracker on the Camaro. The application stated that officers wanted to be "alerted when Petruk makes trips out of town to re-up his supply" and to "track his movements to other known drug dealers in the area." A Minnesota state court judge issued the warrant on September 7, 2016, and the GPS tracker was installed the next day.

         A few days later, on September 12, Wisconsin District Attorney Daniel Blank and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bork applied for a warrant to install a GPS tracker on the Silverado. An affidavit by Todd Maas, an investigator for the Superior, Wisconsin, police department, supported the warrant application. Maas's affidavit contained substantially the same information, almost verbatim, that was in Williams's affidavit for the Camaro GPS warrant. A Wisconsin state court judge issued the warrant that same day, and the tracker was installed.

         Also on September 12, Blank and Bork applied for a warrant to install a GPS tracker on the Chrysler. That application was also supported by an affidavit from

         Maas. This affidavit was not identical to Maas's affidavit for the Silverado GPS warrant. It did, however, contain the information from all four CIs that Petruk was involved in methamphetamine trafficking; the information from two CIs that Petruk drove the Chrysler as his primary vehicle; and the information about the officers' traffic stop when Petruk claimed to own the Chrysler. That day, a different Wisconsin state court judge issued the warrant, and the GPS tracker was installed.

         On the night of September 19, once the GPS trackers were installed on all three vehicles, Cliff Sheppeck, an investigator with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office, applied by telephone for a warrant to search the Chrysler. Sheppeck's affidavit specifically stated that Petruk and an unidentified female were "currently occup[ying]" the car. The affidavit contained substantially the same information that was in the applications for the GPS tracker warrants, including the fact that Petruk had claimed ownership of the Chrysler. But it also added new information that had not been included in any previous warrant applications. By then, a fifth CI had told officers that he had seen Petruk with two ounces of methamphetamine and that Petruk "has methamphetamine on him at all times." Like the others, CI-5 had also previously provided reliable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.