Submitted: May 17, 2019
Consideration of Defendant Hanif Washington's Motion to
Zachary Rosen, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Wilmington,
Delaware, Attorney for State.
O. Turner, Jr., Esquire, Assistant Public Defender,
Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant.
L. Scott, Jr. Judge.
the Court is a Defendant Hanif Washington's Motion to
Suppress. Defendant argues that the evidence seized as a
result of his arrest September 15, 2018, was seized illegally
and is in violation of his rights under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution;
Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of
Delaware; and under Delaware law. A suppression hearing was
held before this Court on May 17, 2019. The Court is now
prepared to render its decision.
September 2018, Officer Gruber of the New Castle County
Police Department received information that a male by the
name of Hanif Washington was selling heroin in the area of
Kirkwood Highway. The informant additionally provided a phone
number which, through computer inquiries, was determined to
be associated with Defendant on multiple occasions. Upon
further inquiry, Officer Gruber discovered that Defendant had
a capias from the Rehoboth Alderman's Court for failure
to appear and a suspended license.
September 15, 2018, Officer Gruber engaged in a text message
conversation with the aforementioned phone number to arrange
a drug transaction. In that conversation, Officer Gruber
texted "can I get 6," immediately followed up with
"6 B's," to which the recipient replied
"when n where." Officer Gruber testified that he
has learned from his training and experience that a
"B" is shorthand for a bundle, which signifies 13
bags of heroin bound together with a rubber band - a common
method of transporting, storing, and selling heroin. The
parties arranged to meet at a Royal Farms located on Kirkwood
Highway and Defendant informed Officer Gruber that the six
bundles of heroin would cost $100.
establishing surveillance at the location, officers observed
a white Chrysler enter the parking lot. Around the same time,
Defendant texted Officer Gruber that he was in a white car.
Officers established that the white Chrysler was registered
to an individual who Officer Gruber had previously confirmed
was the mother of Defendant's children. Defendant was
then taken into custody. Officers did not recover any drugs
in Defendant's possession.
affidavit of probable cause, dated September 16, 2018,
Officer Gruber also avers the following:
[W]hen taking Hanif into custody, he stated "what are
you all looking for dope?" and started laughing, then
stated "I'm smarter than you all." I observed a
red cell phone iPhone 7 in the vehicle, which when I called
Hanif s number ... it rang. Further, when I responded to the
back of the car to speak with Hanif he made a whole
unsolicited statement advising that he knew why we were out
here. He further made an unsolicited statement saying that he
was just going to drive her (the female he thought he was
selling to) into the city to meet up with one of his friends
so they could pick up the heroin and he could sell it to her.
. . . Hanif was provided Miranda warnings which he waived. He
again stated he was just going to pick up the individual that
he was at the Royal Farms to meet, and was going to drive
them to the intersection of Sycamore and Van Buren to pick up
the six bundles to then sell.
Hanif provided me consent to search his phone and signed a
consent waiver for the same. I observed text messages from my
phone to his, and he confirmed that he was the one texting to
set up the deal.