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United States v. Fuentes

filed: January 21, 1997.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JUAN CARLOS FUENTES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington D.C. No. CR-95-02080-AAM. Alan A. McDonald, District Judge, Presiding.

Before: John T. Noonan, David R. Thompson, and Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Kleinfeld.

Author: Kleinfeld

KLEINFELD, Circuit Judge:

Fuentes argues that his motion to suppress cocaine found in his pocket should have been granted, because his Terry stop at the airport was not based on reasonable suspicion, and because he was arrested without probable cause.

I. FACTS

Fuentes was stopped at the Yakima airport, by a local police officer working with the DEA, and a DEA agent. The district Judge found that these were the reasons for the stop, and that these reasons gave rise to reasonable suspicion:

1. Yakima is a major narcotics transfer point;

2. the transfers "sadly relate to and often involve people, young people of Hispanic heritage";

3. Fuentes carried no luggage the first time he tried to board a plane, and then returned with other people a second time carrying luggage;

4. an officer with 16 years experience testified that Fuentes was looking around the airport as if he were watching for law enforcement people;

5. Fuentes waited outside in a car with others until 6:05 p.m., even though he had arrived in the car at 6:00 and his flight was to take off at 6:15, thus minimizing his exposure to possible law enforcement surveillance in the airport, and one of the companions came in ahead of him apparently to do a lookout before Fuentes entered;

6. he bought a one way ticket for cash.

The officers testified that in addition, the following circumstances aroused their suspicion:

7. Fuentes did not shake hands or say good-bye to the two people who accompanied him to the ...


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