This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






State of Minnesota,





Donald Wayne Carter,



Filed June 5, 2001

Klaphake, Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. D1-98-600876


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, John B. Galus, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN  55103; and


Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, 100 N. 5th Avenue W., #501, Duluth, MN  55802-1298 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Thomas L. Nuss, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3230 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Stoneburner, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


On appeal from his conviction for second-degree possession of cocaine, appellant Donald Wayne Carter challenges the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized from his person.  See Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subds. 1(1) (possession with intent to sell), 2(1) (possession) (1998).  The trial court concluded that the search was permissible because the initial stop of the vehicle in which appellant was a passenger was legal and because police were justified in detaining appellant for 43 minutes while they obtained a warrant to search him.

            Because police had probable cause to arrest appellant without a warrant, they could conduct a search incident to that arrest or detain appellant until they obtained the search warrant.  We thus affirm the trial court’s denial of appellant’s suppression motion, albeit on different grounds.  Because appellant failed to challenge the scope of the search and argues for the first time on appeal that the search constituted an impermissible body cavity search, the record on this issue is incomplete; we therefore decline to address this issue.


            On September 23, 1998, Duluth Police Officer Gordon Ramsay was on bike patrol when he spotted a gray vehicle, license number BXS 666.  The Special Investigations Unit, or “drug unit,” had told Ramsay the previous day that the vehicle and the people associated with it had been involved in selling crack cocaine, and that Ramsay should be on the “lookout” for the vehicle.

            Ramsay followed the vehicle for several blocks, until he observed it make an illegal right turn from a left-hand lane.  During his pursuit, Ramsay notified the drug unit that he had spotted the gray vehicle.  An officer from the drug unit advised Ramsay that “they may have a search warrant” for the vehicle and its occupants. 

            Once the vehicle was stopped, Ramsay contacted the drug unit to determine the status of the search warrant, and was told that the warrant application was on its way to being signed by a judge.  Approximately two minutes later, another drug unit told Ramsay that the search warrant had been signed, a statement that later proved to be untrue. 

            The officers found no weapons or contraband when they pat-searched the driver, Marvin Dancy, or the passenger, appellant.  Both men were handcuffed, placed in separate squad cars, and transported two blocks to police headquarters.  When they arrived at headquarters, however, the warrant had not yet been signed.  Between the initial stop and eventual search, appellant and Dancy were detained for approximately 43 minutes, while an officer of the drug unit updated the affidavit of the warrant application and presented it to a district court judge for signing.  During the subsequent search of appellant’s person, police seized a plastic baggie containing crack cocaine.


            When reviewing pretrial suppression orders, this court may “independently review the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred in suppressing--or not suppressing--the evidence.”  State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (Minn. 1999) (citation omitted).

            Appellant concedes that police had an objective basis to stop the vehicle in which he was riding and that police were entitled to detain him for a reasonable length of time in order to carry out the stop.  See State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575, 578 (Minn. 1997) (even insignificant traffic law violation may provide objective basis for stopping vehicle); State v. Battleson, 567 N.W.2d 69, 70-71 (Minn. App. 1997) (pretextual stop permitted, provided that police have particularized and objective legal basis for it).  He argues, however, that the scope and length of his detention exceeded the constitutional limits of an investigative stop.  We agree.

            An investigative detention that follows a lawful stop may last only “as long as reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop.”  State v. Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d 842, 846 (Minn. 1993) (citation omitted).  Once police identified appellant and performed a pat-search, they had no further reason to detain him for the purpose of a limited investigatory stop.  See State v. Bell, 557 N.W.2d 603, 606 (Minn. App. 1997) (search illegal where, after initial traffic stop concluded, police continued to hold person in back of squad car), review denied (Minn. Mar. 18, 1997).  Moreover, once police made it clear to appellant that he was not free to leave by handcuffing him, placing him in the back of a squad car, and transporting him to police headquarters, his continued detention became a “de facto” arrest requiring probable cause.  See Blacksten, 507 N.W.2d at 847 (arrest occurs when defendant handcuffed, placed in squad car, and not free to leave).

            A warrantless felony arrest is legal if supported by probable cause, however.  State v. Walker, 584 N.W.2d 763, 766 (Minn. 1998) (police may make warrantless arrest if they have probable cause to believe individual has committed felony).  “To establish probable cause, the police must show that they reasonably could have believed that a crime has been committed by the person to be arrested.”  State v. Riley, 568 N.W.2d 518, 523 (Minn. 1997) (quotation omitted).  When more than one officer is involved in an investigation, the “‘entire knowledge of the police force is pooled and imputed to the arresting officer for the purpose of determining if sufficient probable cause exist[ed] for an arrest.’”  Id. (quoting State v. Conaway, 319 N.W.2d 35, 40 (Minn. 1982)).

            Here, the investigating officer from the drug unit testified at the omnibus hearing that officers would often partially draft, but not complete, search warrant applications for ongoing investigations.  The officer testified that people dealing crack cocaine often come to the Duluth area for short periods of time and then return to their source city.  The officer explained that this warrant application had not been completed because it was unclear whether appellant was still in town.

            The warrant affidavit included several facts outlining information the drug unit had collected on appellant and Dancy since 1993.  The affidavit stated that within the last two weeks, several confidential reliable informants (CRIs) had independently reported that they had seen appellant and Dancy selling crack cocaine in Duluth.  The affidavits also included the following facts that the officer added to the affidavit after the stop:

15.  Within the last 24 hours, CRI #3 reported to officers of the Special Investigations Unit that [Dancy] and [appellant] are driving around in a gray vehicle, license number BXS 666 and are making deliveries of crack cocaine from this vehicle.


16.  Within the last 24 hours, [police] received information [regarding] vehicle BXS 666 from a concerned citizen.  This concerned citizen described this vehicle as a late 1980’s model four door, dark gr[a]y in color with tinted windows and a landau top.  This concerned citizen also reported that it was being driven by a black male.


Thus, at least one of the CRIs told police that he/she personally saw appellant with the cocaine and saw him offering it for sale.  Cf. State v. Cook, 610 N.W.2d 664, 668 (Minn. App. 2000) (probable cause did not exist where CRI failed to state that he/she personally observed suspect commit crime), review denied (Minn.  July 25, 2000).  In addition, police corroborated at least one detail given them by the CRIs when they confirmed that appellant was one of the occupants of the gray vehicle, with license number BXS 666.  See State v. Munson, 594 N.W.2d 128, 136 (Minn. 1999) (probable cause to search vehicle existed after police corroborated several important details of CRI’s story).

            Because this information provided police with the reasonable suspicion that appellant was in the business of selling drugs, that he had very recently been seen selling drugs out of a vehicle, and that it was likely he would soon leave the Duluth area, we conclude that probable cause existed to arrest appellant without a warrant.  See State v. Cavegn, 356 N.W.2d 671, 674 (Minn. 1984).  Once appellant was lawfully arrested, police could search him or detain him until they procured a search warrant.  See, e.g., State v. Robinson, 605 N.W.2d 96, 100 (Minn. 2000) (search incident to an arrest authorizes police to search person’s body and area within his immediate control).

            Finally, for the first time on appeal, appellant challenges the manner in which police conducted the search.  Because appellant’s suppression motion did not specifically challenge the scope or manner of the search, no evidence was presented on this issue at the omnibus hearing.  When a defendant fails to raise specific challenges to evidence and fails to give the state an opportunity to refute those challenges, the issue is waived.  See State v. Needham, 488 N.W.2d 294, 296 (Minn. 1992).

            The trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion to suppress is affirmed.



* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.