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United States of America v. Dustin Neal Saksa

September 22, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DUSTIN NEAL SAKSA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jack D. Shanstrom Senior U.S. District Judge

ORDER

Presently before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Suppress. On September 6, 2011, a hearing was held on this motion. Defendant was represented by Federal Defender Mark Werner. The Government was represented by Special AUSA Ed Zink. Testimony was taken during the course of the hearing from Yellowstone County Detective Frank Fritz, CCSIU Detective Thomas Benjamin and ATF Special Agent Carl Anuszczyk. The Defendant testified as well. After having reviewed the transcript of the hearing in this case in conjunction with the Parties' respective briefs, this Court is prepared to render a ruling at this time.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Defendant Saksa is currently charged in a two-count Indictment for (1) Felon in Possession and (2) Possession of a Firearm that is not registered in the National Federal Registry, specifically a sawed-off shotgun. Defendant's current suppression hearing only challenges the possession of the sawed-off shotgun.

On December 19, 2009, Defendant's prior landlord, Leslie Heinrichs, reported that there was stolen contraband left at the basement apartment that Defendant was renting at 922 1/2 Westgate Drive, Lockwood, Montana. Mr. Heinrichs had previously evicted Defendant Saksa and his mother. Based on this and the discovery of stolen contraband, District Judge Gregory Todd issued a search warrant of Defendant's residence. During the course of the search, a Browning 12 gauge shotgun with shortened stock and barrel was found and seized.

On December 21, 2009, Defendant was interviewed by Yellowstone County Detective Frank Fritz. Prior to the interview, Fritz read Defendant his Miranda Warning and confirmed that the Defendant read the English language and that he understood his rights. Defendant Saksa signed a Miranda Warning Form and agreed to be interviewed.

When questioned about the seized items from Defendant's residence, Saksa responded that he had no knowledge of the items and that the Defendant had several people come over to his residence that sometimes left items there. When questioned about the shotgun, Saksa first stated that he obtained the shotgun from his grandfather. He subsequently changed his statement and said that he obtained the shotgun from a friend but would not tell Detective Fritz the name of the friend.

In addition, Detective Fritz stated that he noticed that the Defendant was unable to sit still through the interview. Based on this, Fritz began questioning the Defendant about his drug involvement. Over the course of the interview, Defendant agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and to speak to a drug investigator.

Detective Fritz and Defendant agreed that Fritz would return the next day and obtain a formal recorded statement. Detective Fritz returned on December 22, 2009 with CCSIU Detective Tom Benjamin and ATF Agent Carl Anuszczyk. Defendant was interviewed in the DUI center at Yellowstone County Detention Facility. Benjamin and Anuszczyk began the interview by questioning the Defendant about his drug use and the shotgun. At that time, Defendant Saksa provided information about his drug involvement. He further indicated that he wanted to cooperate regarding the shotgun. Defendant stated that he received the shotgun from his brother. Saksa made these admissions before Detective Fritz read him his ...


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