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United States v. Boeke

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

August 22, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DEKKER KARL BOEKE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DANA L. CHRISTENSEN, CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Dekker Karl Boeke's motion to suppress. (Doc. 25.) The Court denies the motion.

         Factual Background

         On June 21, 2019, a federal grand jury issued its indictment in this matter, charging Boeke with one count of prohibited person in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and one count of unlawful user of controlled substance in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). (Doc. 2.) The firearm involved in both charges was found in a lockbox during a residential search conducted pursuant to a warrant, the validity of which is not at issue. Following discovery of the firearm, Boeke made incriminating statements to law enforcement officers.

         Shortly before midnight on March 28, 2019, state and Musselshell County law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a home in Roundup, Montana. Acting on reports that a resident of the home, Chase Allen, had been distributing heroin in Roundup, the officers were looking for evidence of the offenses of possession, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of dangerous drugs. (Docs. 27-3 & 27-4.) Specifically, they sought drugs, paraphernalia, weapons, and various other evidence and contraband of drug possession and distribution. (Docs. 27-3 & 27-4.)

         When the officers arrived on the scene, they found four men, including Boeke, in the residence. (Doc. 27-1 at 4.) According to statements later made by Boeke and Allen, Boeke had been living in Allen's bedroom for the two weeks prior to the search. (Doc. 27-1 at 5-6.)

         The officers found evidence of drug possession and distribution in Allen's bedroom, including Suboxone film, a box containing suspected heroin, a second box containing a marijuana grinder and Narcan, a scale, over a thousand dollars in cash, and Ziploc baggies, some of which contained suspected heroin. (Doc. 27-6.) They found the relevant lockbox in one of the bedroom's closets. (Id.)

         After a brief colloquy regarding their right to open the lockbox, Musselshell County Deputy Sheriff Travis Manning popped the box open with a knife. Inside, he found Ziploc baggies, a Zelda wallet containing Boeke's driver's license and $263.00 in cash, and a black and purple Ruger .38 special LCR revolver with four rounds in the cylinder. (Doc. 30.)

         At approximately 2:00 a.m. on March 29, 2019, Boeke was informed of and waived his Miranda rights. (Doc. 27-7 at 3-4.) Speaking to state officers Cameron Pavlicek and Scott Johnson, Boeke admitted to using heroin two to three times daily but stated that he did not feel comfortable answering any questions regarding involvement in drug distribution. (Id. at 7.)

         Boeke also demonstrated an awareness of the subject firearm. Pavlicek asked, "How 'bout the uh, any, any kind of firearms in the house that you're aware of?" Boeke responded, "Uhhm, in a lockbox, yeah." (Id. at 11.) The conversation continued:

Pavlicek: That one in the closet up there?
Boeke: Mmm hmm.
Pavlicek: Who[se] is that?
Boeke: Well I, eh, eh, it is a friend of mine's. It's ...

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