United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION
TO DISMISS INDICTMENT AND/OR SUPPRESS EVIDENCE
A. Roberts, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Indictment and/or Suppress Evidence filed on June 18, 2019
with a supporting brief. (Docs. 13, 13-1.) The Government
filed its resistance and opposing brief on June 25, 2019.
(Docs. 14, 14-1.) The matter came on for hearing on July 17,
2019. The Court received Defendant's Exhibits A-D and
Government Exhibits 1-2. Neither party offered testimony. The
Court heard arguments of the parties. This matter is fully
FINDINGS OF FACT
was indicted on May 8, 2019 on two counts: Count 1, unlawful
use of an identification document in violation of 18 U.S.C.
Section 1546(a); and Count 2, misuse of a social security
number in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 408(a)(7)(B).
was formerly employed at Agri Star Meat and Poultry, LLC
(“Agri Star”) in Postville, Iowa. (Doc. 13-2.)
She was hired in September 2016 and fired on December 19,
2018. (Id.) Following the termination of her
employment on February 26, 2019, her civil attorney mailed a
“confidential settlement communication” raising
complaints of pregnancy discrimination, harassment, and
retaliation and seeking reinstatement or compensation in
exchange for settlement of her claims. (Id. at 4.)
March 12, 2019, Homeland Security Special Agent Michael
Fischels received an unsolicited call from Agri Star's
human resources department with a tip that an employee known
as Dalia Espinoza had previously worked for Agri Star under
the name Leticia Alvarez. (Doc. 13-3 at 2.) Agri Star also
supplied a Form I-9, State of Iowa W-4, and a Federal W-4 for
Dalia Espinoza, as well as a Form I-9 for Leticia Alvarez.
(Id.) It appears that Agent Fischels reviewed the
forms provided by Agri Star and then commenced his own
investigation by conducting credit history checks; contacting
other law enforcement agencies; contacting family members;
and conducting surveillance; as well as reviewing immigration
records, Facebook posts, and photographs. (Id. at
2-5.) Agri Star also confirmed a match between photographs of
Leticia Alvarez and Dalia Espinoza. (Id. at 4.)
same time, it appears Agent Fischels was also conducting an
investigation of Mario Gonzalez. This led to Agent
Fischels's receipt of a police report from the Postville,
Iowa Police Department describing a domestic altercation
involving Mario Gonzalez and Maria Guadalupe Morales
Martinez. (Doc. 13-4 at 2.) Agent Fischels was able to then
opine that Defendant was the person who had used the
identities of Leticia Alvarez and Dalia Espinoza.
Government's brief asserts the following statements are
In early 2019, HSI Special Agent (SA) Michael Fischels was
visiting Agri-Star Meat and Poultry, LLC, in Postville, Iowa,
on an unrelated matter. During the course of his visit, SA
Fischels learned from a human resources (HR) manager that a
former employee named Dalia Espinoza had previously worked at
the company under the name Leticia Alvarez. SA Fischels
advised the manager that he would look into the matter if
they sent him documentation. The manager also mentioned
something about a letter Espinoza sent to the company, but
she did not provide any details about the contents of the
letter, the complaint, or reasons behind the letter.
(Doc. 14-1 at 2.) The evidence adduced at the hearing,
however, did not establish all of the facts asserted by the
Government in its brief; i.e., that Agent Fischels obtained
the tip in person, the details of who relayed the tip to him,
or his knowledge of a letter Defendant sent to Agri Star.
Nevertheless, even if I accept these statements as admissions
by the Government showing somewhat greater involvement by
Agri Star in the underlying investigation than is disclosed
by the exhibits in evidence, these alleged facts do not alter
my report or recommendations.
The parties' arguments
seeks to dismiss the indictment as a vindictive prosecution.
In the alternative, Defendant asserts the Court should
dismiss the indictment or “suppress all evidence
obtained directly from the employer's illegal retaliation
under either the ...