FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW
HAMPSHIRE [Hon. Joseph N. Laplante, U.S. District Judge]
R. Brown, with whom Preti Flaherty PLLP was on brief, for
S. Davis, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Scott
W. Murray, United States Attorney, was on brief, for
Torruella, Lynch, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
TORRUELLA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Moss ("Moss") appeals from the district court's
denial of his motion to suppress approximately twenty pounds
of methamphetamine that a postal inspector discovered in two
United States Postal Service Priority Mail Express packages,
as well as any evidence resulting from the searches of those
packages. After careful review, we affirm.
April 18, 2017, U.S. Postal Inspector Bruce Sweet
("Sweet") singled out from a list of incoming mail
a package scheduled to arrive from Las Vegas, Nevada, to
Manchester, New Hampshire. Since October 2016, Sweet had been
participating in the investigation of a drug conspiracy in
which packages containing methamphetamine were sent from Las
Vegas to New Hampshire and, in return, packages containing
money were sent from New Hampshire to Las Vegas. According to
postal databases, the singled-out package weighed twenty-six
pounds; was addressed to Brian O'Rourke at 3 Blackberry
Way, Apt. 108, Manchester, New Hampshire; and bore the
tracking number EL810533730US (the "730 Package").
More importantly, it had "328 Florrie
Ave." in Las Vegas as the return address, which
matched the "Florrie Ave." return address used in
other packages identified throughout the drug conspiracy
investigation. Based on these characteristics and his
knowledge of the investigation, Sweet deemed the 730 Package
the night before the package's arrival, Sweet drafted an
affidavit in support of a warrant to search the 730 Package
and e-mailed it to Assistant United States Attorney William
Morse ("AUSA Morse"). Sweet's affidavit
included an attachment labelled "Attachment A,"
which accurately described the 730 Package as a "black
'Kicker Speaker' cardboard box," and detailed
the package's weight and dimensions. The attachment also
identified the 730 Package's addressee, O'Rourke, as
well as the package's final destination.
collected the 730 Package and placed it in a canine
drug-sniff lineup shortly after the package arrived in
Manchester on the morning of August 19, 2017. After the
drug-sniffing dog alerted on the 730 Package, Sweet secured
the package in the United States Postal Inspection
Service's parcel inspection
room. Sweet effectively separated the 730
Package from all other mail held in the postal facility given
that there were no other packages in the parcel inspection
room at this point.
Morse proceeded to e-mail Sweet's affidavit to court
personnel that same morning. AUSA
Morse's e-mail indicated that his office was still
working on the associated paperwork. Within an hour of the
e-mail's delivery, AUSA Morse and Sweet arrived at the
magistrate judge's chambers with a complete search
warrant packet consisting of: (1) the search warrant
application; (2)Sweet's affidavit and its two
accompanying attachments; and (3)the proposed search warrant.
In the space provided for a description of the property to be
searched, the warrant application stated: "See
Attachment A to Affidavit of U.S. Postal Inspector Bruce A.
Sweet which is incorporated herein by reference.". As
mentioned above, Attachment A of Sweet's affidavit
provided an accurate and detailed description of the 730
Package. After reviewing the search warrant application and
Sweet's affidavit, the magistrate judge issued the search
due to a clerical error in the U.S. Attorney's Office,
the document identified as "Attachment A" that was
appended to the search warrant was different from the one
attached to Sweet's affidavit and reviewed by the
magistrate judge. The issued warrant's Attachment A did
not describe the 730 Package, a twenty- six-pound cardboard
box, but rather a five-ounce envelope Sweet had searched
during the course of an unrelated investigation from November
2016.  The warrant, nevertheless, still included
information reflecting its relation to the 730 Package.
Specifically, its caption correctly read:
In the Matter of the Search of (Briefly describe the
property to be searched . . .)
USPS Priority Mail Express Package Bearing Tracking Number
other words, the issued warrant included the 730
Package's exclusive tracking number, despite the
description of another package in its Attachment
of the mistakenly appended attachment, Sweet proceeded to
search the 730 Package. Inside the package, he found a large
speaker and, inside the speaker, twelve zip-top bags, each
containing almost exactly one pound of a white crystalline
substance later identified as methamphetamine. Sweet then
replaced the narcotics with miscellaneous items to bring the
box to its original weight, repackaged the speaker, resealed
the package, and delivered it to the post office for the next
stage of the government's operation -- apprehension of
the 730 Package's addressee, Brian O'Rourke.
was a crack cocaine addict. His supplier was
Sabrina Moss ("Sabrina"), defendant-appellant
Moss's sister. O'Rourke, Sabrina,
and Moss had all been in the same hotel room with other drug
users about a week prior to the arrival of the 730
Package. O'Rourke and Moss did not know
each other and did not speak to each other in that hotel
room. Their interaction was limited to what can be described
as a mutual acknowledgement of each other's presence:
They waved at each other after Sabrina pointed out Moss to
O'Rourke. Sabrina then asked O'Rourke if he was
willing to receive a package at his apartment on Moss's
behalf in exchange for three-and-a-half grams of crack
cocaine. O'Rourke agreed.
terms of this agreement were never fleshed out any further.
O'Rourke left the hotel room without Sabrina telling him
when to expect the package to arrive or the number of
packages he would receive. Nonetheless, from their
conversation's reference to "a package,"
O'Rourke understood that their arrangement was limited to
the receipt of a single piece of mail. O'Rourke believed
everything would transpire in a simple, quick manner: The
package would arrive at his apartment, Moss would pick it ...