- Child Pornography
- Domestic Violence Cases
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug Crimes
- Federal White Collar Crime
- Health Care Fraud
- International Criminal Law and Extradition
- Internet Crime
- Medical Marijuana
- Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes
- Money Laundering and Racketeering (RICO)
- Professional Licensure Issues
- Sex Crimes & Abuse Allegations
- January 3, 2018
CHOOSE ONE: MEDICAL MARIJUANA OR GUN OWNERSHIP
- August 9, 2017
Massachusetts Court Protects Medical Marijuana Use by Employees
- August 7, 2017
Pennsylvania Doctors Now Able to Register to Provide Medical Marijuana Prescriptions
- August 2, 2017
Colorado Court Says Alert from Drug Sniffing Dog is No Longer Enough to Search Car
- July 27, 2017
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Permits Awarded
5th Circuit Increases Defendant’s Sentence for “Importation” of Narcotics in Routine Distribution Case
In U.S. v. Rodriguez, 666 F.3d 944; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 202, Defendant Melanie Marie Rodriguez pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas sentenced defendant to 180 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release. Defendant’s sentence was enhanced under U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(4) because the district court determined that the offense “involved the importation of amphetamine or methamphetamine. . . .” On appeal, Defendant argued that the offense did not involve the importation of methamphetamine, because the importation was complete before she came into possession, and she was not involved in the importation.
The record established that the methamphetamine in question was transported from Mexico to the Dallas area by the La Familia drug trafficking organization, then stored in the “stash house” of its local leader, Arnulfo Hernandez. Hernandez sold the methamphetamine to a man named Rolando Vasquez, who sold it to Defendant on about six to ten instances over the course of approximately two to three months. Hernandez sometimes accompanied Vasquez to deliver the drugs to Defendant.
With regard to Defendant’s arguments, the appellate court determined that Defendant’s offense involved the importation of methamphetamine because (1) even if the appellate court accepted her narrower interpretation of “importation,” it meant only that she did not import the drugs, not that her possession did not involve importation, and (2) her proximity, familiarity, and repeated business with the importers justified the enhancement.
The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the finding that Defendant knew the drugs were imported. The Court noted that Defendant and her husband had an established relationship with Vasquez, from whom they had been buying drugs weekly for at least nine months. Defendant had been buying from Vasquez for only about three months, but she took over for her husband after he was incarcerated. Furthermore, Hernandez, the local leader of a drug-trafficking organization based in Mexico, would sometimes accompany Vasquez to Defendant’s house to deliver drugs. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of sentence.
If you have been charged with a crime and believe your rights may have been violated, please contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff for a confidential consultation: 215-563-9800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in: Drug Crimes