N.D.Ohio: People found in the backyard when SW executed subject to frisk

It was reasonable to patdown men found in the backyard of a house searched under a warrant. Ybarra distinguished. There was virtually reasonable suspicion as to anybody associated with the property. United States v. Cargill, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152038 (N.D. Ohio Sep. 6, 2018):

This is distinguishable from the instant case, where officers had amassed information that the Shenandoah residence was frequented by individuals appearing to purchase drugs and that an unidentified male had been seen at the residence helping to produce drugs. TPD also received reports of firearms at the house.

I find this case is analogous to Vite-Espinoza, where the Sixth Circuit upheld the detention and pat-downs of individuals found in the backyard of a house that was searched pursuant to a search warrant. United States v. Vite-Espinoza, 342 F.3d 462, 465 (6th Cir. 2003). Police suspected the house was used to produce and sell counterfeit immigration documents and social security cards, and to sell marijuana. Id. The court held that “rational inferences warranted reasonable suspicions that those encountered on the premises would either be counterfeiters themselves or their illegal alien customers, because legal residents have of course little need for counterfeit documents, or that they would be armed and dangerous, because drug traffickers tend to be so.” Id. at 467.

The case before me is quite similar. Based on the information gathered by TPD from a reliable confidential source, their own surveillance, and their research, officers had reason to believe the Shenandoah residence was used for the trafficking of cocaine and heroin. They also had reason to believe crack cocaine was being produced at the residence with the help of another African-American male. Their intelligence-gathering also revealed that high volumes of people came to the house at all hours of the day and night. This provided for the rational inference that anyone the officers encountered on the property when they arrived to execute the search warrant was likely to be involved in drug trafficking. See Vite-Espinoza, 342 F.3d at 467. And the Sixth Circuit has held that “where an officer suspects drug activity, he can reasonably infer that the suspect is armed and dangerous.” United States v. Akinyemi, 101 F. App’x 109, at 111 (2004) (citing Vite-Espinoza, 342 F.3d at 467).

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