A man who was arrested pursuant to a search warrant acquired by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that later led to the discovery of a meth den at a local hotel is now accusing the U.S. DEA of unlawful search and seizure because he claims he was a cooperating informer of the Department of Public Safety’s Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Qiu Shuo, through his lawyer, Robert T. Torres, filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the NMI last week to suppress and exclude evidence obtained by the DEA during his arrest back in January at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Qui is currently charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime after over 1.6 lbs of methamphetamine was uncovered in two rooms he was renting out at the Hyatt for over six months.
In an affidavit to support his motion to suppress, Qiu stated that he had signed three cooperation agreements with the government.
Qui claims he signed his first agreement with the government back in December 2019 on Capital Hill without an attorney present.
Then, on April 2020, he said he signed a second cooperation agreement with the DETF at the Department of Corrections with an attorney present.
The third cooperation agreement he signed was on July 2020 at the Department of Corrections with his attorney present, according to Qui.
However, last Jan. 12, Qui said police came into the hotel room where he was staying and placed him in handcuffs and searched his room despite his cooperation in answering their questions.
Qui added that he told the agents, “I am working for you guys” and they even stated that “tell me all the things you know, we’re going to give you another chance to cooperate.
He said the agents also asked questions about another room and he admitted to the agents that he had also rented another room, specifically room 339.
“After the interview, an officer wanted the combination for the safe in Room No. 339. I did not want to give the combination for the safe in Room No. 339, so I gave a different combination. I did not want to give the combination to the safe, but I was surrounded by agents with guns and I was in handcuffs and I felt pressured about what would happen to my father and girlfriend because the agent was making threats about arresting them,” Qiu said.
Torres argued in his motion that the warrant issued for the first room, room 639, lacked probable cause for its issuance, and the items seized as a result of the illegal search must be excluded.
As for room 339, Torres said police searched the room without a warrant and the evidence seized must therefrom be excluded.
“Police performed the warrantless search without any applicable exception to the warrant requirement, all in violation of Qiu’s constitutional rights,” Torres said.
According to a previous article on the Saipan Tribune, the DEA and the DETF executed a search warrant on one of Qui’s rooms at the Hyatt last Jan. 12, which led to the seizure of 1.6 lbs of methamphetamine, and two handguns with ammunition.