United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
ORDER AND OPINION
P. WATTERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Brittany Nicole Green's motion to
suppress evidence. (Doc. 43). The parties urged the Court to
determine this motion without holding an evidentiary hearing
because the parties did not dispute any issues of material
fact. Accordingly, the Court opted to forego an evidentiary
hearing. See United States v. Walczak, 783 F.2d 852, 856 (9th
Cir. 1986) (the district court is not required to hold an
evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress when no
controverted facts were at issue regarding the validity of
the search). Having read and reviewed the parties'
submissions and the applicable law, this Court now DENIES
Brittany Green's motion.
December 18, 2018, a truck carrying mail from Canada to the
United States entered Port Huron, Michigan. (Doc. 44-1 at 5).
During a Customs and Border Patrol narcotics examination, law
enforcement discovered a package labeled "Organic
Fitness Vitamin" originating out of Ontario, Canada, and
addressed to Gregory Green at Westwood Drive, in Billings,
Montana. (Id.). Inside, law enforcement discovered a
second vacuum-sealed package containing Xanax, a Schedule VI
controlled substance. Officers turned the package over to a
Homeland Security Investigator who concluded that the parcel
contained 1, 471 pills. Homeland Security seized the pills
and sent them, along with the original packaging, to the
Billings Task Force for further investigation.
the package arrived in Billings, Task Force agents contacted
the United States Postal Inspector for Montana, Walt Tubbs.
Tubbs advised the agents that 112 packages had been shipped
to the same address between December 20, 2017 and December
20, 2018. Tubbs agreed to assist in making a controlled
delivery at a later date. (Id.). Agents found a
Gregory P. Green listed at the same address listed on the
package. Gregory Green's criminal history check revealed
he had arrests for arson, theft and disorderly conduct some
twenty years prior. (Id. at 6).
including this information in an application for a search
warrant, on January 2, 2019, Officer Michael Robinson sought
and was granted an anticipatory search warrant for
Green's house from Thirteenth Judicial District Judge
Donald Harris. The anticipatory warrant was contingent on a
package containing 50 Xanax pills being delivered and
accepted into the residence. (Doc. 44-2).
January 3, 2019, officers conducted surveillance on Gregory
Green's house and saw an older female leave the house and
go to the mailbox. Shortly thereafter, the postal inspector
delivered the package to the house. The older female answered
the door, took the package and brought it inside. After this,
agents knocked on the door to execute the search warrant. The
female answered the door and the agents entered the house.
(Doc. 44-1 at 6).
addition to the female that had answered the door, agents
located Gregory Green in an upstairs office, and
Gregory's adult daughter, Brittany Green, in a downstairs
bedroom. All three individuals were taken outside to be
identified and questioned. Both Greens were arrested and
taken into custody. The female told agents that she had met
Gregory Green approximately twenty years ago and that they
were in a loving but not intimate relationship. She told
agents that she and Gregory had moved to the house in June
2017, and that Gregory managed her social security account
and handled the bills. She did not know what he did for a
living. She told the agents that Brittany had moved in a
while ago and stayed in the basement. (Id. at 6-7).
agents asked the female about the packages coming to the
house, she could not provide any information. She denied
knowing about any drug use or distribution from the home. Law
enforcement took her to another location while the house was
searched. (Id. at 7).
conducting a safety sweep and clearing the basement, the
agents saw that the living room and adjacent bedroom were
"littered with drugs and drug paraphernalia"
including what agents "originally believed to be a
clandestine methamphetamine lab." (Id.). Agents
contacted the Billings Fire Department and Hazardous
Materials team who assisted in determining if the basement
posed a safety risk. Although the team determined the house
was safe to enter, agents were advised to complete the search
warrant with proper personnel protection equipment.
the search, agents noticed that the computer in Gregory
Green's room displayed the "dark web" and
showed a screen indicating that he was selling Xanax to
people across the country. Agents also located a sealed
package that appeared ready to mail in Gregory Green's
office. Inside, the package was a plastic wrapped box
containing a sealed baggie. In the sealed baggie was
approximately seven grams of suspected methamphetamine and
two Xanax bars. Further search of the office turned up
approximately 100 grams of suspected methamphetamine and
several thousand Xanax bars. (Id.).
basement, agents discovered approximately 122 grams of
suspected methamphetamine, ketamine, carfentanil and other
controlled drugs. A sample of the suspected methamphetamine
was tested and registered positive for methamphetamine.
Agents also found hundreds of feet of glass tubing for glass
pipes, a 100-pound butane tank and instructions for Brittany
Green on how to combine drugs for distribution. Throughout
the rest of the house, Agents located hundreds of items of
drug paraphernalia. Agents also found large amounts of
packing material for sending items through the mail.
agents were searching the residence, a United States Postal
Service mailman delivered four packages and two letters to
the Greens' mailbox. Sergeant Jagers removed three
packages from the mailbox that were similar in size, shape,
and color to the package seized in Michigan. The packages
were from the same sender and Canadian address. The mailbox
also contained a priority 2-day package from Portland,
Oregon, an envelope from the Netherlands, and an envelope
from India. All the mail was addressed to Gregory Green.
Officers seized the mail pending an application for a search
warrant. (Id. at 8-9).
January 9, 2019, Agent Robinson applied for, and was granted,
a search warrant for the mail seized. (Doc. 44-3 at 17).
Robinson discovered more Xanax pills in the three packages
from Canada, bringing the total No. of pills up to
approximately 4, 500. The Portland package contained 16 grams
of an unknown tan substance concealed within several layers
of packaging. The letter from India contained a package
labeled "phenobarbitone tablets" concealed in
several layers of packaging. The Netherlands letter contained
a tin foil package with an unknown substance. Believing all
the substances to be controlled, agents sent them to the DEA
laboratory for analysis. (Doc. 52 at 7; Doc. 44-3 at 18).
January 9, 2019, Agent Robinson applied for, and was granted,
a second warrant to search the Green residence, this time
from United States Magistrate Judge Cavan. (Doc. 44-4).
Brittany Green moves to ...