In this case, a law enforcement task force got a search warrant for a motel room that revealed the existence of a cell phone. This phone in its text messages implicated another person as a methamphetamine supplier. The task force obtained a warrant for that person’s phone and went through that phone’s contents. That phone’s data implicated the Defendant as an associate supplier. The task force received from yet another distributor the defendant’s phone number.
Based on affidavits of probable cause, the task force was granted orders from a state judge authorizing the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices on two numbers believed to be the defendant’s phones.
The orders authorized the task force to obtain cell-site location information (CSLI). This led to a search warrant being granted for phone records, including stored text messages. This led to a search warrant for the defendant’s home.
The Defendant’s Motion to Suppress alleged that law enforcement violated state law when the trap and trace orders were issued. The District Court denied the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress, finding that the trap and trace orders were valid search warrants under the Fourth Amendment because they had satisified all the requirements for a valid warrant.
The case is United States v. Fregia, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37762, 2019 WL 1102688, D. Mont. (March 7, 2019).