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12/21/89 the People of the State of v. Oscar Pintos

December 21, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE

v.

OSCAR PINTOS, APPELLANT



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

549 N.E.2d 344, 133 Ill. 2d 286, 139 Ill. Dec. 832 1989.IL.2003

Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Stephen A. Schiller, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE CLARK delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE MILLER, specially Concurring.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CLARK

Defendant, Oscar Pintos, was convicted in the circuit court of Cook County of intent to deliver more than 30 grams of a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(a)(2)). Pintos' conviction was affirmed by the appellate court. (172 Ill. App. 3d 1096.) We granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal (107 Ill. 2d R. 315). Pintos' sole argument on appeal is that the evidence in his case was insufficient to support his conviction.

These proceedings arose from a drug transaction which took place on October 13 and October 14, 1984. The State's witnesses at trial consisted of four special agents from the Northeast Metropolitan Enforcement Group , two agents from the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and a forensic scientist from the Illinois Department of State Police. Their testimony established that in October 1984, Manuel Diaz, a Florida resident, began telephone negotiations with an undercover agent from the MEG for the sale of cocaine. Diaz eventually agreed to deliver eight kilograms of cocaine to the agent in Chicago.

On the evening of October 13, 1984, agents from the MEG and the DEA observed Diaz's arrival from Florida at O'Hare International Airport. The agents followed Diaz to the Westin Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. After learning that Diaz had reserved rooms 808 and 809 of the hotel for that evening, the agents set up surveillance in rooms 818 and 819, which were directly across the hall from rooms 808 and 809.

Later in the evening of October 13, 1984, Diaz met with the undercover MEG agent at a Chicago restaurant and told him that he could deliver eight kilograms of cocaine for $340,000. They arranged for the sale to take place the next morning. Diaz then told the agent that he had to be back at the hotel at 11 p.m. that evening "because he had to meet the drivers who were driving the coke up from Florida, had to be there to meet him [ sic ] in his room."

At about 1:40 a.m. on October 14, 1984, agents from the MEG and DEA observed, through a peephole in the door to room 819, two men standing outside of Diaz's room (room 809). One man, later identified as Ramon Sosa, was carrying a gift-wrapped box and a bag. The flaps of the box were open and the agent could see what looked like crumpled newspapers sticking out of the box. Defendant, Oscar Pintos, was with Sosa; Pintos was carrying a garment bag and a flight bag. Pintos knocked on the door and Diaz let the men into his room. About one minute later, all three men left Diaz's room. Sosa continued to carry the box (the flaps were now "compressed down") and his bag, and Pintos continued to carry his two bags. Diaz then unlocked, and Sosa and Pintos entered, room 808, where Sosa and Pintos spent the rest of the night. Diaz returned to his room alone. The cardboard box remained in the room with Sosa and Pintos.

At approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of the 14th, Diaz went into the room where Sosa and Pintos had spent the night. Room service delivered food to the room and, shortly thereafter, Diaz left and returned to his room (room 809). Sosa then left his room and walked down the hall. He was gone for several minutes before he returned to room 808.

At about 9:30 a.m., the undercover MEG agent who had met with Diaz at the restaurant the previous night knocked on Diaz's door. Diaz let the agent into his room and then went to room 808, where he knocked on the door and was admitted into the room. Diaz then left that room, leaving the door slightly open. Diaz returned to his room (room 809), carrying the gift-wrapped box which Sosa had been holding the night before; the end flaps of the box were now open.

Back in his own room, Diaz opened the box for the undercover agent. The box contained nine individually wrapped kilograms of cocaine. The undercover agent tested part of one of the kilograms of cocaine and left the room, telling Diaz that he would return shortly with the money. As he left, the undercover agent gave a signal to the agents in rooms 818 and 819 that the drugs were in room 809. The undercover agent then knocked on Diaz's door and, when Diaz opened it, the agents from rooms 818 and 819 placed Diaz under arrest and confiscated the cocaine. The agents subsequently knocked on the door to room 808, which had been shut while Diaz was being arrested, and arrested Sosa and Pintos.

Sosa and Pintos were charged with intent to deliver more than 30 grams of a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(a)(2)) and with calculated criminal drug conspiracy (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1405). They were tried simultaneously, Pintos in a bench trial and Sosa in a jury trial. Pintos was found guilty of intent to deliver and not guilty of criminal conspiracy and was ...


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