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Before: Lynch, Chief Judge, Selya and Howard, Circuit Judges.

The issue presented is whether, within weeks of the Madrid commuter rail bombings in 2004, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) police had reasonable suspicion of a terrorist plot on a major Boston bus and rail station permitting an officer to open the door of a van, which was, unusually, sitting stationary but with a driver and passengers inside, in the station’s commuter parking lot. The prosecution and defendant agree that this action of the MBTA police, for Fourth Amendment purposes, amounted to a “seizure,” requiring reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may have been afoot. That this proved not to be a criminal terrorist plot at all but rather a criminal plot to transport aliens illegally is immaterial.

The driver of the van, Edgar Ramos, moved to suppress evidence stemming from the MBTA’s investigative search. The district court held four days of evidentiary hearings and ultimately denied the motion, concluding in a well-reasoned opinion that there was reasonable suspicion. See United States v. Ramos, 591 F. Supp. 2d 93 (D. Mass. 2008). Ramos then conditionally pled guilty to illegally transporting aliens in Charlestown, Massachusetts. See 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii). We affirm the district court’s denial of Ramos’s motion to suppress.

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