This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Steven R. Hanebuth,
Todd County District Court
File No. K30256
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Angela M. Helseth, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Gaylord Saetre, Todd County Attorney, Todd County Government Center, 212 Second Avenue South, Suite 2, Long Prairie, MN 56347 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Roy G. Spurbeck, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Stoneburner, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Steven Hanebuth challenges his conviction of manufacturing methamphetamine, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subd. 2a (2002), contending that (1) evidence obtained from his residence should have been suppressed because the search warrant was not supported by a showing of probable cause; and (2) the evidence was not sufficient to support the conviction. We affirm.
Appellant argues that a search warrant executed on his residence was invalid. We review the district court’s determination of probable cause to issue a search warrant to ensure that there was a substantial basis to conclude that probable cause existed. State v. Harris, 589 N.W.2d 782, 788 (Minn. 1999). Substantial basis in this context means a “fair probability,” given the totality of the circumstances, “that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 633 (Minn. 1995) (citation omitted). Great deference is given to the issuing judge’s determination of probable cause, and this court should not subject that determination to a rigorous de novo review. State v. Wiley, 366 N.W.2d 265, 268 (Minn. 1985). The resolution of doubtful or marginal cases should be largely determined by the preference to be accorded to warrants. State v. McCloskey, 453 N.W.2d 700, 704 (Minn. 1990) (quotation omitted).
The United States and Minnesota Constitutions both specifically forbid unreasonable searches and require that warrants only be issued based on probable cause. U.S. Const. amend. IV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10. Thus, a search typically is lawful “only if it is conducted pursuant to a valid search warrant.” State v. Albrecht, 465 N.W.2d 107, 108 (Minn. App. 1991) (citation omitted). “A search warrant cannot be issued but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, naming or describing the person, and particularly describing the property or thing to be seized, and particularly describing the place to be searched.” Minn. Stat. § 626.08 (2002). “[E]vidence recovered during an unlawful search may not be introduced at trial.” State v. Martinez, 579 N.W.2d 144, 148 (Minn. App. 1998) (citation omitted), review denied (Minn. July 16, 1998).
An affidavit fails to support probable cause when it includes no “details . . . that would permit the issuing magistrate to independently evaluate” whether probable cause exists. State v. Souto, 578 N.W.2d 744, 749 (Minn. 1998). In reviewing whether probable cause supported a search warrant, a court “may consider only the information presented in the affidavit offered in support of the search-warrant application.” State v. Hochstein, 623 N.W.2d 617, 622 (Minn. App. 2001) (citation omitted). The magistrate must consider “the ‘veracity’ and ‘basis of knowledge’ of persons supplying hearsay information . . . .” Souto, 578 N.W.2d at 747 (citation omitted). The affidavit must include specific language to enable the magistrate to make a conclusion about the informant’s reliability. State v. Anderson, 439 N.W.2d 422, 425 (Minn. App. 1989), review denied (Minn. June 21, 1989).
Appellant contends that the affidavit in support of the search warrant application was conclusory, vague, and failed to state facts that would enable the magistrate to independently determine whether there was a well-warranted suspicion that evidence of a crime would be found at appellant’s residence. Specifically, appellant argues that because the affidavit did not state exactly what chemicals the confidential reliable informant (CRI) saw at appellant’s home, the magistrate could not assess whether the possession of those items supported the issuance of a search warrant. Appellant also argues that many items used to manufacture methamphetamine are commonly found in the home and that the possession of distilled water, lye, and a hot plate, alone, would not satisfy the probable cause required to issue a search warrant.
While the affidavit did not state exactly what chemicals or equipment were seen by the CRI, it did state that the CRI saw chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine. The reliability of a confidential informant is determined, in part, by examining the circumstances surrounding the informant in light of several nonexclusive factors; including: (1) whether an informant has given reliable information in the past; (2) whether information provided is corroborated by the police; and (3) whether an informant voluntarily offers information. State v. Ward, 580 N.W.2d 67, 71-72 (Minn. App. 1998).
Here, the affidavit stated that the CRI told the affiant that within the past 72 hours, the CRI saw several chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine at appellant’s residence. The affidavit stated that the CRI had provided the police officer with information regarding at least two locations in which methamphetamine labs were located before, and that based on this information, warrants were obtained and methamphetamine labs were discovered. The fact that the CRI had given credible information in the past makes him more reliable. And the information was also reliable because the CRI had successfully identified methamphetamine labs in the past, thus indicating that he was able to recognize a methamphetamine lab. The affidavit indicated that based on the information obtained through the CRI, the police officer believed that appellant was manufacturing methamphetamine at his residence using the “HI” method of manufacturing. Thus, it can be inferred that the CRI saw chemicals and equipment that are not consistent with normal household use. See Ward, 580 N.W.2d at 71 (finding that although probable cause is to be determined based on the information contained in the affidavit, “reasonable inferences” may be made to determine if there is probable cause).
In addition, the affidavit indicated that appellant was associated with someone who was involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, and the police officer seeking the warrant recalled an incident when appellant was believed to be using methamphetamine. Thus, the information from the CRI is more reliable because it was partially corroborated by information from the officer. We conclude that considering the totality of the circumstances, a magistrate could conclude that there was a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime would be found at appellant’s residence.
Appellant also argues that the affidavit fails to link him to criminal activity or to link any criminal activity to his home. “When the request of the court is for the issuance of a warrant to search a particular location, there must be specific facts to establish a direct connection between the alleged criminal activity and the site to be searched.” Souto, 578 N.W.2d at 749. The nexus between the crime and the place to be searched is clear where direct information connects an item to a location. See State v. Cavegn, 356 N.W.2d 671, 674 (Minn. 1984) (stating that nexus is clearer that drugs would be found in apartment where there is direct information that a drug sale actually occurred there).
The affidavit stated that (1) appellant was associated with a person involved in manufacturing methamphetamine; (2) appellant was believed to be a user of methamphetamine; (3) a CRI identified appellant’s residence to the police; (4) the CRI stated that he saw chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine at appellant’s residence; and (5) according to the CRI, the individual living at that residence and manufacturing methamphetamine is named Steve. The residence identified by the CRI is located at 1077 Eighth Street, which is the residence of appellant Steve Hanebuth. And the CRI’s description of the person manufacturing methamphetamine at 1077 Eighth Street matched the description of appellant provided by the police officer. Thus, we conclude that the information in the affidavit is sufficient to link appellant to criminal activity and to link criminal activity to appellant’s residence.
The search warrant here is supported by probable cause and the information in the affidavit provided direct information connecting the methamphetamine lab to appellant’s residence. We therefore affirm the district court’s determination that the search warrant was valid, and the evidence obtained during the search was properly admissible. Because we affirm the district court’s decision that the search warrant was valid, we need not reach respondent’s argument based on a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule.
Appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdict. In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict that they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court must assume the jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary. State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989). This is especially true when resolution of the matter depends mainly on conflicting testimony. State v. Pieschke, 295 N.W.2d 580, 584 (Minn. 1980). The reviewing court will not disturb the verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).
To find appellant guilty, the jury had to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that appellant manufactured “any amount of methamphetamine.” See Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subd. 2a. The evidence produced at trial supports this finding. At trial, the state introduced a videotape, several photographs, and a notebook into evidence. The videotape and photographs showed chemicals and equipment in appellant’s residence that are used to manufacture methamphetamine. A notebook found under appellant’s bed described several steps in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine. And expert witness testimony established that methamphetamine was discovered during the search of appellant’s residence.
A narcotics investigator with the Becker County Sheriff’s Office testified as to the process of manufacturing methamphetamine and stated that several chemicals and equipment found at appellant’s residence are commonly used in the process of making methamphetamine. Specifically, the state introduced evidence of the following items found in appellant’s residence: a prescription bottle for Allegra D containing red phosphorus and methamphetamine; a gas generator; numerous liquid samples which tested positive for methamphetamine; numerous empty pop bottles; a hot plate; an iodine tincture bottle; a bottle of Hex Udder Wash; empty bottles of hydrogen peroxide; numerous empty distilled water bottles; empty cans of solvent; lye; matches with the strike plates removed; filters; funnels made out of pop bottles; a notebook with instructions for making methamphetamine found under appellant’s mattress; ph level testers; and a Visine bottle containing muriatric acid. The investigator described the process by which these items are commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine. The investigator also explained that methamphetamine labs commonly have jars with layered liquids in them; such jars were found at appellant’s residence. Finally, the investigator testified that based on his training, experience, and observations in appellant’s residence, he believed appellant had a methamphetamine lab at his residence.
We conclude that the evidence produced by the state was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict that appellant was guilty of manufacturing “any amount of methamphetamine.”