from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Alabama D.C. Docket No. 2:15-cr-00283-LSC-HGD-15
TJOFLAT, HULL and WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judges.
jury trial, Anthony DeJuan Williams appeals his convictions
for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent
to distribute 500 or more grams of cocaine, multiple counts
of using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, and
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
appeal, Williams challenges the district court's denial
of his motion to suppress evidence agents found in an
outbuilding adjacent to Williams's main residence while
they were executing a warrant for Williams's arrest. The
district court concluded that the search of the adjacent
outbuilding was a reasonable entry pursuant to the arrest
warrant, and alternatively, was a valid protective sweep.
Williams argues that it was unreasonable for the agents to
believe anyone, much less Williams, lived in or was present
inside the outbuilding. For the first time on appeal,
Williams argues that the district court also erred in denying
the motion to suppress because the evidence established that
the agents executed the underlying arrest warrant at
"approximately" 6:00 a.m., which rendered the
arrest warrant invalid. After review, we
to the evidence presented at the suppression hearing, Federal
Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") agents began
surveilling a large-scale drug trafficking operation led by
Patrick DeWayne Hall. During surveillance, agents learned of
a new participant, later identified as defendant Williams.
The agents intercepted telephone calls between Hall and
defendant Williams discussing a kilogram of cocaine.
agents tracked Hall to defendant Williams's residence at
344 Sun Valley Road, where the agents also found a car
registered to Williams parked in the driveway. The agents
heard from the street what sounded to them like a metal drug
compressor, which is used to repress and repackage cocaine
with a diluting agent. The agents could not tell whether the
activity was occurring in the main residence or the
outbuilding. Approximately twenty minutes later, the agents
observed both Hall and defendant Williams walk into the
carport and leave in Williams's car.
residence consisted of a single-family, ranch-style house,
with a carport and metal shed abutting the house, and an
outbuilding approximately twenty feet away in the backyard.
Photographs of the outbuilding show a structure with a front
and a back door, several windows, and a garage door. The
district court found, and we do not disagree, that the
outbuilding "looks like a mother-in-law suite or guest
house." In addition to surveillance, the agents
performed a public records search, which listed 344 Sun
Valley Road as defendant Williams's probable address.
grand jury indicted defendant Williams, Hall and 24 other
individuals with, among other things, conspiracy to
distribute controlled substances, a warrant was issued for
defendant Williams's arrest. On October 21, 2015, FBI
agents prepared to perform coordinated arrests of multiple
members of the charged conspiracy, including defendant
Williams, at 6:00 a.m. During a pre-arrest operational
meeting, Special Agent Michael Greene, the leader for the
team assigned to arrest defendant Williams at the 344 Sun
Valley Road address, was given information about Williams,
including a photograph of Williams and a description of his
car. At that meeting, particular note was made of the
outbuilding because it looked like it could be a living
space, and the agents did not know whether defendant Williams
lived in the main house or the outbuilding. As a consequence,
Agent Greene planned to make simultaneous entries of both
team of agents met first at a staging area, and Agent Greene
performed a drive-by of 344 Sun Valley Road. At that time,
Agent Greene observed Williams's car and two other
vehicles parked at the residence. Based on these
observations, Agent Greene believed defendant Williams was
possibly inside the residence with multiple other subjects.
agents arrived at 344 Sun Valley Road at approximately 6:00
a.m. to execute the arrest warrant. Agent Greene split his
team into two groups, one at the main residence and one at
the outbuilding. Each team moved on its own command. After a
knock and announce, Agent Greene was with the first group as
it breached the main residence door. Agent Greene then moved
around to the outbuilding, which was about to be breached,
and was the fourth person to enter the outbuilding. According
to Agent Greene, the entry of the main residence and the
outbuilding happened within about a minute of each other.
Inside the outbuilding, agents found a white powdery residue
and some razor blades on a table and a drug press sitting in
a corner of the room, but did not find any people. As the
agents "cleared" the outbuilding, Agent Greene
called back on his radio and learned that the other group in
the main residence had defendant Williams in custody. Once
defendant Williams was in custody and the property was
cleared, the search stopped.
on what the agents observed in plain view in the outbuilding
and the main residence, agents obtained a search warrant for
the property. During the search pursuant to the search
warrant, agents found cocaine, heroin, diluting agent,
blenders, two large mechanical drug presses, wrappers, and
weapons. Agents also found evidence connecting defendant
Williams to the residence, including a deed indicating
Williams had purchased the property.
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