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United States of America v. Courtney Cal Gardenier

November 7, 2012



Defendant Courtney Cal Gardenier has filed a motion to suppress all the tangible evidence obtained from two searches conducted during the investigation of this matter. She also seeks to suppress the statements that she made to law enforcement during the second search. The government opposes the motion. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied in full.


Gardenier was the target of an investigation into the distribution of molly and ecstasy (two different forms of the Schedule I substance methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine or MDMA) in the Bozeman area. She had been identified as the source of supply by two people who received molly in the mail on November 9, 2011, as part of a controlled delivery.

One of these recipients became a confidential informant (CI) who assisted the Missouri River Drug Task Force ("Task Force") in arranging a controlled purchase of 500 tablets of ecstasy from Gardenier through the mail. Special Agent Rod Noe, a member of the Department of Homeland Security and the Task Force, testified that the package was never intended to actually reach the CI's possession, that this was discussed with the CI, and the CI understood that. The CI signed a consent form agreeing to cooperate with the Task Force "for the purpose of obtaining evidence of criminal acts" and acknowledging that purchasing or possessing any drugs outside the scope of the CI's work with the Task Force was illegal and would be prosecuted. The CI also agreed to allow the Task Force to electronically monitor him/herself and his/her property. The agreement does not explicitly grant the Task Force permission to intercept or open any mail that might be sent to the CI.

The CI communicated with Gardenier via text messages, which were forwarded to Agent Noe. Agent Noe often instructed the CI how to respond to Gardenier, but he was not typically present when the messages were exchanged. Via text, Gardenier agreed to ship ecstasy tablets to the CI but expressed concern about using the regular mail because other packages she had sent recently had gone missing or been delayed. (The packages had been intercepted by Homeland Security.) She directed the CI to deposit $800 into a Wells Fargo Bank account, and law enforcement deposited that sum on November 17, 2011. Upon receipt of the pills, the CI was to deposit an additional $1,050. The CI learned that Gardenier actually sent 1,000 pills, 500 of which were intended for another recipient. Gardenier also informed the CI that the pills had been shipped via the United States Parcel Service (UPS), and that the package was addressed to "a dude's name" at the address where the CI had received the package on November

9. Gardenier provided the CI a tracking number for the package.

Law enforcement learned that UPS attempted delivery on Saturday, November 19, 2011, but that no one was able to sign for or retrieve the package and the package was currently "frozen" at the UPS facility in Bozeman. The facility was closed until Monday morning. Gardenier and the CI texted about the failed delivery. Gardenier was upset that the CI was not at home to receive the package. The CI indicated that she had not told her roommates to look for a package addressed to an alias and so they probably rejected the delivery. Gardenier indicated that the package could be redirected. At this time, Agent Noe testified that he still believed the package would be routed to the CI.

When UPS opened first thing Monday morning, November 21, another Task Force member, Bozeman Police Detective Jim Veltkamp, seized the package. He observed that the package had allegedly been sent by "Jenny Hardinger" in Tukwila, Washington, and was addressed to "Brady Huand" in Bozeman. Brady Huand was not the name of the CI, but the detective recognized the delivery address as the CI's address, and recognized the sender's phone number as Gardenier's. The package bore the same tracking number that Gardenier had provided the CI.

Detective Veltkamp took the package to the Task Force headquarters and opened it. He discovered a UPS Mailer containing a cell phone box. Inside the box were two plastic baggies containing what appeared to be about 1000 yellow pills.

Later in the day, at approximately 3:17 p.m., UPS received a Delivery Change Request from Gardenier indicating that she would like the package to be delivered to a new address. From the CI, the Task Force knew that Gardenier was now in Bozeman, and the Task Force recognized the new address as Gardenier's sister's address.

Law enforcement planned a controlled delivery of the package to Gardenier at her sister's address. Prior to executing the controlled delivery, Detective Veltkamp applied for and received a search warrant for the package and the delivery address, relying in part on the warrantless search of the package seized from the UPS facility.

Law enforcement executed the controlled delivery and the search warrant on November 22, 2011. Following the search, Detective Veltkamp reported that law enforcement found and seized several items, including the package; a piece of paper with a UPS tracking number; suspected marijuana and various paraphernalia; a "snort tube" and picture frame with powdery residue; empty capsules; and a brown bottle containing capsules.

Gardenier was present during the search of the home and apparently made several inculpatory statements during the interview performed at the site. She insists she felt compelled to make the statements because she was handcuffed and the officers' guns were drawn. Agent Noe and Detective Veltkamp, both of whom participated in the search, testified that all the officers' guns were drawn when they entered the home, but were holstered or put away after the house was "cleared," within two to five minutes. Per their usual practice, Gardenier was handcuffed initially while the residence was secured, and she was probably instructed to lie on the ground face-down. However, after the house was secured, Gardenier was seated in the living room and her handcuffs were removed. Agent Noe explained to her what was happening and calmed her down. He then Mirandized her and began to interview her while other ...

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