National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition Commends Attorney General's decision to rescind Cole Memo

The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC) applauds and commends US Attorney General Jeff Sessions for taking action today to rescind the "Cole Memo", thereby restoring the ability of Federal prosecutors to enforce Federal drug laws. The NNOAC strongly opposed the action taken by the previous administration that restricted prosecutors’ ability to enforce the law against marijuana producers and distributors.

According to NNOAC President, Bob Bushman, "One of the unfortunate consequences of the Cole Memo was the encouragement it provided to the marijuana industry to expand its reach, resulting in dramatic increases in marijuana use, marijuana-related traffic fatalities and the availability of marijuana in markets throughout our country". "Given the current drug epidemic facing our country that is resulting in so much addiction and so many drug poisoning deaths", said Bushman, "we should be doing everything we can to discourage and curb illegal drug use. That includes marijuana."

The Attorney General's action will take the handcuffs off of law enforcement so they can go after the criminal organizations that harm our communities. Although U.S. Attorneys will not be forced to prosecute marijuana producers or distribution cases, they will now have discretion to prosecute cases that threaten the safety of the citizens in their communities. Clearly, Federal prosecutors do not use their resources to target simple marijuana possession or put individuals with substance use disorders in prison. We do not believe that will change under this policy.

The NNOAC has long held that negative consequences to public health and public safety far outweigh any benefits from tax revenue gained by legalizing dangerous and addictive drugs like marijuana. Evidence clearly demonstrates those negative consequences in states that have legalized the production and sale of marijuana. And, evidence also shows that illicit marijuana markets are thriving, not only in areas that have implemented legalization, but in other states across the nation that are now being deluged with marijuana produced in states that continue to allow it in violation of federal law.

This action by the Attorney General that restores the ability for Federal agencies to enforce the law is a step in the right direction to help our nation's law enforcement officers protect our communities and preserve public health and safety.

The NNOAC represents State Narcotic Officers' Associations, partner organizations and their 50,000 members throughout the United States.

Fentanyl for First Responders

The abuse of drugs containing fentanyl is killing Americans. Misinformation and inconsistent recommendations regarding fentanyl have resulted in confusion in the first responder community. NNOAC participated in the review and final draft and requested associations distribute it to members and post to their websites.

Click on this link for the one page safety bulletin

Clackamas County Interagency Task Force Makes Major Bust

A man was arrested in the Home Depot parking lot at Mall 205 with 20 kilos of methamphetamine and 4 kilos of heroin, according to the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force.

The arrest of Jose Luis Poitras, 22, was the culmination of a six-month investigation.

Task force members, with the help of Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Grimm, arrested Poitras on Tuesday.

After Poitras was arrested, two locations were searched in Vancouver with the assistance of the Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force.

Those searches led to the seizure of almost $10,000 in cash and evidence of meth and heroin processing, according to investigators.

Poitras was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on charges of unlawful distribution of meth and heroin. His bail was set at $500,000.


Warrantless Searches

Warrantless Searches by Mike Galli is now available for pre-sale. 

The definitive resource on warrantless searches and seizures covers nearly 350 cases. Several pertain directly to United States Supreme Court litigation, combining preparation and practical application. 

Updated in fall 2014, it also contains material on the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding cell phones and search warrant procedure.

Purchase a pre-sale copy today for $60.00 (+ $10.00 S&H).

Total price is $70.00. Estimated shipping is in March/April. For additional information and a free Chapter download, click on this link.


Act quickly to save. On March 1, 2015, Warrantless Searches will be released at the price of $105.00.

2015 ONEA College Scholarship Program

In keeping with the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association’s (ONEA) commitment to contributing to the health and welfare as well as the professional, personal and academic growth of its members and their families, the ONEA Executive Board is proud to request applications for two college scholarships. One $1,500 college scholarship will be awarded to a deserving dependent of an ONEA member who will graduate from high school at the end of the current academic year and who will attend an accredited college or university during the next academic year. Another $1,500 college scholarship will be awarded to a deserving dependent of an ONEA member who is currently a college student attending an accredited college or university and who will be attending an accredited college or university during the next academic year.

Click on this link for applications and additional information. All materials must be received by April 30, 2015.

ONEA Scholarship Deadline Is Fast Approaching

From Pat O'Connor

ONEA is committed to contributing to the health and welfare and the professional, personal, and academic growth of its members and their families. As part of that commitment, ONEA provides one competitive $1,500 college scholarship annually to a qualified high school senior who has applied and been accepted to an accredited community college or university and who is the dependent of a current ONEA member.

Good Luck.

Ninth Circuit Finds that DEA Agents Unreasonably Relied Upon Consent of House Guest to Search Residence

Written by FEDagent on 05 December 2013. Posted in Case Law Update

Multiple Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) conducted a knock and talk at the home of Omar Arreguin.  When they knocked on the door, a houseguest, Elias Valenica, Jr. answered the door.  The police asked Mr. Valencia if they could enter, he said that they could, and Special Agents entered and conducted a sweep, discovering suspected drugs and a large quantity of cash, and obtaining incriminating statements.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the Special Agents had not lawfully entered the residence, because Mr. Valencia did not have authority to consent to a search, and the Special Agents had insufficient reason to believe he possessed authority to consent to a search.  

At 11:00 a.m. on August 16, 2008, DEA Special Agents John Rubio, Paul McQuay, Chad Corbin, Group Supervisor Daniel Neill, and other law enforcement officers conducted a “knock and talk” at a residence in Riverside, CA.  The residence was the home of Omar Arreguin, his wife, Maria Ledesma-Olivares, and their infant. A houseguest, Elias Valencia, Jr., was also present.

Special Agent Rubio knocked on the door several times before a “sleepy-looking” Elias Valencia opened the door.  Special Agent Rubio held a brief conversation with Mr. Valencia, explaining that they were DEA Special Agents, and informing him that they “know this house.  There was drug-related activity before.  We would like to come in and look around.  Can we come in?”

With the door open, Special Agents Rubio and McQuay could see into the entry area of the home.  They were able to see Ms. Ledesma-Olivares, who was holding an infant.  They were also able to see Mr. Arreguin, who was holding a shoebox.  Mr. Arreguin disappeared and re-appeared approximately four times.  

Mr. Valencia informed the Special Agents that that were free to enter and they quickly did so.  Neither Mr. Arreguin nor Ms. Ledesma-Olivares expressed any objections to the Special Agents’ entry.  Special Agents then entered the residence.  Mr. Arreguin swiftly walked down the hallway to the master bedroom.  Special Agents McQuay and Corbin directed him to stop and return to the main entrance area.  He returned about 30 seconds later.  

Then, Special Agent Rubio began talking with Mr. Arreguin, and Special Agents McQuay and Corbin conducted a cursory safety sweep.  Special Agent McQuay quickly proceeded to the master bedroom because that is where Mr. Arreguin had briefly disappeared to.  Once in the master bedroom, he was able to observe that the shoebox which Mr. Arreguin had held was in the attached master bathroom.  Special Agent McQuay approached the box, which had its cover removed, and observed a white powder inside the box.  The box was then seized.  

The Special Agents proceeded to sweep the garage.  Inside of the garage was a parked Toyota Corolla.  Special Agent McQuay observed through the vehicle’s windows that there were bundles of cash protruding from a Gucci bag.  The cash, which amounted to $176,990, was seized.  

After those seizures, the Special Agents spoke alone with Mr. Arreguin.  They informed Mr. Arreguin that he should sign a consent to search form because it would be beneficial to him.  Specifically, the Special Agents explained that they “would not refer Ms. Ledesma-Olivares’s case to immigration.”  Mr. Arreguin then signed the consent to search form, and led the Special Agents back to the Corolla and revealed a secret compartment containing five individually wrapped bricks of methamphetamine.  

Subsequently, the Special Agents interviewed Mr. Valencia, and he presented evidence that he was from Atlanta, GA.  The Special Agents learned, apparently for the first time, that Mr. Valencia was a houseguest.  

In the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Mr. Arreguin was indicted under 21 U.S.C. § 841, he moved to suppress the shoebox, the white substance, the Gucci bag, and the cash, claiming the Agents lacked consent for their warrantless search of the residence. After the district court denied the suppression motion, Mr. Arreguin entered a conditional guilty plea and appealed denial of the suppression motion for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  

In its decision, the court of appeals initially explained that a valid consent search of a home does not violate the Fourth Amendment, but that where consent is subsequently contested, it is the government which has the burden of proving that it had obtained consent to search.  

The court of appeals further elaborated that the government may meet its burden to show consent by demonstrating that: (1) a third party had “shared use and joint access to or control over a searched area”; or (2) “the owner of the property to be searched has expressly authorized a third party to give consent to the search.”  If the government cannot present proof that the consenting party had actual authority to consent to the search, then the government “may establish consent by means of the ‘apparent authority doctrine.’” 

“Under the apparent authority doctrine, a search is valid if the government proves that the officers who conducted it reasonably believed that the person from whom they obtained consent had the actual authority to grant that consent.’ [United States v. Welch, 4 F.3d 761, 764 (9th Cir. 1993)]  ‘Apparent authority is measured by an objective standard of reasonableness, and requires an examination of the actual consent as well as the surrounding circumstances.’ United States v. Ruiz, 428 F.3d 877, 881 (9th Cir. 2005). Thus, in assessing whether an officer’s belief was objectively reasonable, the court considers ‘the facts available to the officer at the moment.’ Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 188 (1990).” 

“[T]he Supreme Court teaches that a mere invitation to enter a particular premises is not itself adequate for apparent-authority purposes.  ‘Even when the invitation [to search] is accompanied by an explicit assertion that the person lives there, the surrounding circumstances could conceivably be such that a reasonable person would doubt its truth and not act upon it without further inquiry.’ Rodriguez, 497 U.S. at 188 (emphasis added). Similarly, Ninth Circuit law provides that the ‘mere fact of’ a third party’s access to an area, ‘without more, does not indicate that the access was authorized’ and that the third party had authority to consent to a search of the area. [United States v. Reid, 226 F.3d 1020, 1025 (9th Cir. 2000).]” 

In light of these relevant legal standards, the court of appeals then analyzed the facts of this case.  The court of appeals noted that the Special Agents knew “virtually nothing” about Mr. Valencia, the home, or Mr. Valencia’s connection with the various parts of the home.  Although the Special Agents should have had some idea of who resided at the home prior to their knock and talk, they encountered an individual who they were unfamiliar with in Mr. Valencia, and yet did not ask him any further questions before they “quickly rushed past him” in order to “start rummaging around the Arreguins’ home.” . . .  “[T]he Agents were proceeding in a state of near-ignorance when they searched both the master suite and the area behind the second door in the master suite. They knew far too little to hold an objectively reasonable belief that Valencia could consent to a search of those areas.” 

The court of appeals went on to explain that “Valencia’s answering of the Residence door is not, in and of itself, adequate to justify a reasonable belief that he had authority to consent to a search of the master suite.”  Furthermore “[t]he fact of Valencia’s presence inside the Residence at 11 a.m. is similarly unhelpful to the government. It is ‘hardly unusual to have’ three or four ‘visitors at one’s home,’ or guests who might visit ‘late at night’ and then perhaps spend a late morning sleeping in one’s home. United States v. Rios, 449 F.3d 1009, 1015 (9th Cir. 2006). Individual schedules for working, visiting friends, receiving guests, and sleeping vary tremendously.” 

The government argued that Mr. Arreguin and Ms. Ledesma-Olivares’s presence and failure to object when Mr. Valencia consented to the Agents’ entry were additional factors supporting Mr. Valencia’s apparent authority to consent. However, the court of appeals found this unpersuasive, as the record indicated that at the moment Mr. Valencia gave his consent, the Agents still did not know anything about him or the other two adults near the foyer, “including which, if any of the them, lived in the Residence.”  Since the agents did not know that the actual residents were present and not objecting at the time consent was given, the government could not claim that as supporting justification after the fact.  

Of the remaining relevant facts known to Special Agents, the court considered the fact that Mr. Arreguin disappeared and placed a shoebox in the master bedroom should have indicated to Special Agents that it was he, and not Mr. Valencia, who had authority over the master suite.  

The government argued in the alternative, that the objects had been discovered during a protective sweep, and that the items were in plain view.   The court of appeals refused to consider the protective sweep argument as it had not been presented as a basis for authority to search at the district court, and thus it would be improper to consider on appeal.  The court of appeals further elaborated that the plain view doctrine is only applicable when officers are lawfully present, and the DEA Special Agents were not lawfully present.  

Accordingly, the court of appeals reversed the district court and suppressed the discovery of the shoebox, the white substance, the Gucci bag, and the cash.  The court of appeals remanded the matter to the district court with instructions to determine whether the methamphetamine bricks and Mr. Arreguin’s incriminating statements were admissible evidence, or if they too were obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  

This case, United States v. Arreguin, is available here.  

FedAgent — D.C. Circuit finds that a warrant to place a recording device outside of authorizing judge's jurisdiction invalid

Lonell Glover was suspected of being involved in the distribution of PCP and heroin. The FBI tapped Mr. Glover’s cellular phone, but Mr. Glover was careful only to speak in code. However, Mr. Glover was known to have meetings with suspected associates in his truck, and so the FBI obtained a warrant from Judge Rosemary Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

As the government noted, Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (“Title III”), which establishes the general rules for federal wire taps, at 18 U.S.C. § 2518(3) permits a judge to “authoriz[e] or approv[e] interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications within the territorial jurisdiction of the court in which the judge is sitting (and outside that jurisdiction but within the United States in the case of a mobile interception device authorized by a Federal court within such jurisdiction).”

The court of appeals disagreed with the government’s argument that this allowed for a federal judge to authorize the placement of a tap anywhere in the United States, explaining that: “[t]o be sure, the parenthetical phrase is somewhat ambiguous. It seems reasonable to read the words ‘such jurisdiction’ in the phrase as referring back to the jurisdiction in which the judge is sitting; i.e., in this case, the District of Columbia, since the provision mentions no other jurisdiction. It is also possible that the phrase, by implication, refers to the jurisdiction in which the mobile interception device is installed. Under either reading, the parenthetical makes clear that a judge cannot authorize the interception of communications if the mobile interception device was not validly authorized, and a device cannot be validly authorized if, at the time the warrant is issued, the property on which the device is to be installed is not located in the authorizing judge’s jurisdiction. A contrary reading would render the phrase ‘authorized by a Federal court within such jurisdiction’ completely superfluous.”

Read more at FedAgent.

Travel Website for Police


I am a retired Sgt with the Vancouver PD (Canada): If any of your members are coming to Vancouver for an Alaska Cruise or vacation please have them contact me for a "police discount" at our hotel, Best Western Plus Sands Hotel, 1755 Davie St, Vancouver, BC.

  1. Also let your members know about my not-for-profit, travel web site for police, It has 130 "police friendly" hotels, B&Bs and IPA houses listed all over the world.
  2. If you know of any police friendly hotels/B&Bs/vacation properties, please let me know and I will invite them to join too. 

Thank you,
Sgt Steve Gibson (ret)
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel
1755 Davie St, Vancouver, BC, Canada

IPA Region 9