Judge OKs validity of search warrants in Dover drug case


DOVER — Citing past reliability of confidential informants and confirmation of details provided, a judge on Wednesday affirmed the validity of two search warrants obtained during a Dover drug investigation in September 2015.

Alleged drug dealer Jeffrey L. Crippen sought to suppress evidence connected to search warrants at a residence on Village Drive in Dover and a cellphone recovered during the operation.

While Mr. Crippen argued that insufficient information was present to establish probable cause, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark cited four confidential informants’ tips on cocaine sales allegedly involving the defendant.

At the same time of the sales, Judge Clark noted, police monitored and observed the controlled purchases, and conducted an independent investigation that brought Mr. Crippen’s eventual arrest on Sept. 21, 2015.

Mr. Crippen believed some facts presented to a magistrate were “stale” after occurring more than a year before, the opinion stated and “much of the allegations were of potential, yet irrelevant criminal conduct and prior bad acts were an attempt to influence the neutral, independent and detached magistrate.”

Judge Clark referenced case law that “a tip from a confidential informant can provide probable cause, if the totality of the circumstances demonstrates the tip’s reliability.”

The Supreme Court found in one case that probable cause existed “primarily because of a tip from a past-proven reliable confidential informant,” according to the order.

In the case against Mr. Crippen, Judge Clark opined that “sufficient details corroborated the various tips from confidential informants, to bolster information provided by the past-proven reliable informants under the totality of the circumstances.”

A recent controlled purchase, along with corroboration and link of Mr. Crippen to the residence nullified any staleness claim, according to Judge Clark.

Regarding the cellphone, Judge Clark ruled it “was found in the master bedroom, at the time the defendant was attempting to flee, placing the defendant in the same room as the cellphone, at the same time.”

According to the order, law enforcement located 5.2 grams of cocaine in a vehicle outside the residence, a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia located on a pantry shelf, along with a stolen firearm.

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