The man arrested in connection with the biggest seizure of methamphetamine or “ice” in the Commonwealth now wants some of the evidence suppressed, saying they were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights.
Yuliu Liu, 36, stated that he never told any officer that there were drugs in his residence.
Liu was arrested with another man in July this year in connection with the seizure of “ice” worth between $3.2 million and $4.3million. He is being represented in the case by attorney Mark Hanson.
In his declaration in support of a motion to suppress evidence filed in the U.S. District Court for the NMI, Liu said he was in the passenger seat of a white van that was stopped by police on July 22, 2015, and that five police vehicles blocked the van in the front, back, and to the side. He said at least 10 police officers got out of the cars with their guns drawn and pointed at the van.
Liu said some of the officers shouted at him and the driver of the van, but it was in English and that they did not understand what they were saying.
“Officers approached the van, with their guns drawn and pointed at us,” he said.
Police identified the driver as Liu’s co-defendant, Zhenlin Fang.
Liu said officers approached, opened the door, pulled the driver out, threw him on the ground, and handcuffed him.
He said an officer approached the passenger side of the van and shattered the passenger window with a baton while he was still seated in the passenger seat.
“I turned away from the window and moved toward the driver’s side to get down from the van,” Liu said.
As he moved to the driver’s side, officers grabbed him, pulled him out of the van, threw him on the ground, and handcuffed him with his hands behind his back.
Liu said he and the driver were put in the backseat of separate police cars and brought to a building where he was fingerprinted and then moved to a room with a table and some chairs.
Liu said after 30 minutes, one police officer and an interpreter came into the room. He said the officer told him that he was under arrest, then gave him a piece of paper that had some constitutional rights on it. The officer told Liu to read the paper, and to sign it if he understands.
Liu said after he read and signed the first four lines, the officer asked him if he wants to talk. Liu said he replied that he wants to remain silent and wait for an attorney. He said the officer told him to wait and think whether or not he wanted to talk.
Liu said after five minutes, the officer asked him where he stays so he told him the location of his house. He said the officer then asked if they can search his house.
“Because I thought that I had no choice, I said yes,” Liu said.
He said the officer then filled out a form and told him to sign it.
Liu said the officers took him to his house, where they instructed him to open the door to his room. While the officers were searching the second room, Liu said they brought him inside and showed him something they found.
He said the officers asked, “How much is in here?”
Liu said he answered maybe 100 grams.
Liu pointed out that at no time prior to that did any officer ask him if there were drugs in his house.
“I never told any officer that there were drugs in my residence,” he added.
In Liu’s motion to suppress, Hanson said because the custodial interrogation of Liu and the consent obtained by government agents to search his residence were the product of constitutional violations, all statements and any other evidence obtained as a result of the warrantless search of his residence must be suppressed.
Hanson said Liu invoked his rights, his right to silence and his right to an attorney, prior to any request for consent to search his residence.
Hanson said the officer’s continued questioning and his request for consent were improper under the law.
In the U.S. government’s supplemental brief, assistant U.S. attorney Ross K. Naughton asserted that the court should resolve the Fourth Amendment claim by asking whether the consent was validly given, in keeping with the analysis that the government argued for in its earlier opposition brief.
Customs inspectors reportedly detected at the seaport warehouse last July 17 that an air-compressor from a shipment contained approximately over 23 lbs or 10 kilograms of methamphetamine. The air compressor was in a container from Guangzhou, China. That prompted federal and local authorities to make a follow-up investigation that led to the arrest of the defendants last July 22.
Authorities allegedly later found 130 grams of “ice” at Liu’s house in Chalan Piao.