United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge.
Jeremiah Matau is charged with conspiracy to distribute 50
grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21,
United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A).
Indictment, Dkt. No. 1.
13, 2016, and July 12, 2016, pursuant to Title 18, United
States Code, Section 2518, district court judges approved
orders for wiretaps on several telephone numbers as part of
the investigation into Matau and his co-defendants. Motion to
Suppress Evidence (Motion), Dkt. No. 515, at 1. On October 9,
2018, Matau filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence, challenging
the sufficiency of the affidavits filed in support of those
wiretap applications and the necessity of those wiretaps in
the investigation that led to Matau's arrest.
Id. The Government filed its Opposition on October
17, 2018. Government's Memorandum in Opposition (Opp.),
Dkt. No. 525. Matau did not reply. Counsel for both sides
notified the court that they did not have witnesses or
evidence to present at a hearing scheduled for October 22,
2018 and waived oral argument. Accordingly, with the
agreement of counsel, the hearing was vacated. Dkt. No. 533.
completed review of the arguments presented in the
parties' briefs, and the record herein, the Court finds
that the two relevant affidavits and warrant applications
meet the necessity requirement of Sections 2518(1)(c) and
2518(3)(c). Matau's Motion to Suppress is therefore
2016, the Government was in the midst of a two-year
investigation into a narcotics conspiracy involving dozens of
individuals, including Matau, Laauli Amani and Jeremiah
Ieremia, a co-defendant in the instant case. Opp. at 1;
Gov't Ex. A. On June 13, 2016, the Government applied for
wiretap authorization, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§
2516 et seq., for telephone numbers purportedly used
by these individuals. Motion at 1.
specifically, the application requested permission to
continue a wiretap of a telephone number used by Amani
(identified as “TT11”), then already under
surveillance pursuant to a May 4, 2016 wiretap warrant. June
13, 2016 Affidavit in Support of Application for Order
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2516 (June Affidavit), ¶ 5.
The application also requested that surveillance be initiated
on a telephone number purportedly used by Ieremia (identified
as “TT13”). Id. In support of the
application, the Government submitted an affidavit from
Jeffrey Koch, a Special Agent (SA) with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI). Id. In the affidavit, SA Koch
states that he is a case agent on the investigation into a
drug conspiracy involving Matau, Amani, Ieremia, Daryl Kuresa
and several others. Id. ¶ 4. SA Koch also
describes, over nearly thirty pages, the various law
enforcement techniques employed in the investigation of this
conspiracy as well as the law enforcement techniques
purposefully not used in the investigation. Id.
¶¶ 128-159. On June 13, 2016, Judge Seabright
approved the wiretap order for continuation of surveillance
on TT11 and initiation of surveillance on TT13. Opp. at 1.
12, 2016, the Government filed a renewal application to
further continue surveillance on TT11 and to initiate
surveillance on four additional telephone numbers, including
two purportedly used by Ieremia (identified as
“TT14” and “TT15”). July 12, 2016
Affidavit in Support of Application for Order Pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 2516 (July Affidavit), ¶¶ 8-10. In
the July Affidavit, SA Koch once again describes at length
the law enforcement investigative techniques used, certain
techniques not used, and the reasons those techniques were
not used. Id. ¶¶ 191-232. In addition, the
July Affidavit includes new information learned since the
Government's June 2016 application, including that
Ieremia was using a new telephone number. Id. ¶
155. On July 12, 2016, this Court signed the order granting
the wiretap authorization. Opp., Gov't Ex. C at 175.
the course of surveillance of TT13 pursuant to the June 13,
2016 Order and TT14 pursuant to the July 12, 2016 Order, law
enforcement agents recorded conversations in which Matau was
heard speaking. Motion at 2. Matau asserts, and the
Government does not refute, that the Government intends to
introduce at trial evidence of some of these conversations or
other information derived from the surveillance of TT13 and
TT14. Id. On October 9, 2018, Matau filed the
instant Motion. Dkt. No. 515.
together, “§§ 2518(1)(c) and (3)(c) require a
showing of necessity before a district court can issue a
wiretap order.” United States v. Carneiro, 861
F.2d 1171, 1176 (9th Cir. 1988). As such, “the
Government must show that every wiretap it seeks is
necessary.” United States v. Christie, 825
F.3d 1048, 1066 (9th Cir. 2016).
United States v. Rodriguez, the Ninth Circuit
describes the necessity analysis as a two-part assessment:
First, under 18 U.S.C. § 2518(1)(c), a wiretap
application must include a “full and complete
statement” as to the “facts and circumstances
relied upon by the applicant, to justify his belief that an
order should be issued, ” including whether traditional
investigative procedures (1) have been tried and failed; (2)
reasonably appear unlikely to succeed if tried; or (3) are
too dangerous to try. 851 F.3d 931, 938. The court reviews
de novo whether the application includes such a
if the affidavit meets the “full and complete
statement” requirement, the court then reviews the
issuing court's conclusion that the wiretap was
necessary. Id. The issuing judge's decision that
the wiretap was necessary is reviewed for abuse of
discretion. United States v. Lynch, 437 F.3d 902,
912 (9th Cir. 2006) (en banc); United States v.
Blackmon, 273 F.3d 1204, 1207 (9th Cir. 1986)).
challenges both the June and July 2016 wiretap orders on the
basis that the two related applications fail the combined
Sections 2518(1)(c) and 2518(3)(c) necessity requirement. In
particular, Matau argues that the Government's affidavits
did not sufficiently explain what traditional law enforcement
techniques had been used, and even where they did, portions
of the affidavits employed common verbiage in describing
those techniques, copying directly from affidavits in support
of previous wiretap applications. Motion at 2-6. Second,
Matau argues that the wiretaps were not necessary because
other techniques could have been used to gather information
about Ieremia. Motion at 6-9. Because neither contention has
merit, the Motion to Suppress is DENIED.
The Affidavits Provide a Full and Complete Statement
Regarding Traditional ...