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United States v. Sosa

May 22, 1967

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
SAMUEL SOSA AND JULIO ARGUMEDO, APPELLANTS



Hastings, Chief Judge, and Castle and Swygert, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hastings

HASTINGS, Chief Judge.

These are two appeals from convictions of Samuel Sosa and Julio Argumedo, on an indictment charging them with conspiracy to deal in narcotics, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C.A. ยง 174, following a bench trial by the district court. Each was sentenced to serve a term of six years imprisonment.

On appeal, Sosa contends the trial court erred in failing to produce an informant and in not giving him ample time to interview the informant. He also urges he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In his appeal, Argumedo contends he was entrapped and that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to permit him to present his testimony with the aid of an interpreter.

The Government's chief witness was narcotics agent, Robert E. Waltz. He testified that while working as an undercover agent, he was introduced to Sosa by an informant on September 17, 1964. He evidently developed his contact with Sosa, and on November 17, 1964, Sosa informed him he had a quantity of heroin available through a friend. Waltz expressed interest in purchasing heroin, and Sosa told him he would introduce him to the friend, who was Mexican and spoke English with an accent. Sosa indicated he would arrange a meeting and also stated that he was to receive as much as $2000 for arranging the deal.

The meeting was held at the Cafe Ole in Chicago, Illinois, where Sosa told Waltz he would meet a man named Julio. Waltz met Julio Argumedo as planned, who told him the heroin was in Mexico. At a subsequent meeting, Argumedo told Waltz he would go to Mexico to get the heroin and contact Waltz when he returned.

On December 22, 1964, Waltz talked to Sosa and indicated that he was worried, not having heard from Argumedo. Sosa told him not to worry and stated he had given Argumedo $500 as a part of expense money, evidently for the trip to Mexico.

On December 28 Sosa called Waltz and told him Argumedo had returned and would call him the next day, which he did. Argumedo arranged a meeting with Waltz.

At the meeting, Waltz received a sample of narcotics from Argumedo. When Waltz had tested this privately, he talked to narcotic agents and returned to meet Argumedo again. He told Argumedo he was satisfied with the sample. Argumedo left and returned forty-five minutes later with the remaining narcotics, at which time he was arrested.

During the trial, Sosa asked for the name and address of the informant who introduced Waltz to him. This was furnished the next day, one day before the end of the trial. No request was made for a continuance in order to locate and subpoena the informant.

On appeal, it is argued that the Government should have done more, that the informant should have been produced or that Sosa should have been given, without motion on his part, sufficient time to seek out and interview the informant.

The informant was not a participant in the crime and was not shown to have been related to the acts involved. The record does not reveal the informant would have been or was thought to be a critical or even useful witness. In addition, assuming the informant might have been useful in testing Waltz's credibility with respect to his introduction to Sosa, Sosa failed to ask for a continuance to locate or interview the informant.

The Government satisfied its duty toward the conduct of a fair trial by supplying the name and address of the informant. The burden of the use of the information fell upon Sosa. Upon good cause shown, a continuance or further disclosure by the Government might have been proper. As Sosa was content with the information supplied, he will not now be heard to say ...


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