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U.S. v. CONNOR

March 31, 1992

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MYLES JOSEPH CONNOR, JR., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McDADE, District Judge.

ORDER

This case is back before the Court on remand for resentencing. On July 16, 1990, Judge Richard Mills sentenced the defendant to 240 months imprisonment having decided an upward departure was warranted. The trial court initially determined an adjusted offense level of 24 (26 minus 2 for acceptance of responsibility) and a criminal history category of V, yielding a guideline sentencing range of 92-115 months of imprisonment. The upward departure reflected the Court's finding that there were aggravating circumstances of a kind and to a degree not adequately taken into consideration by the Sentencing Commission in formulating the guidelines. Additionally, the Court found that the defendant's criminal history category did not adequately reflect the seriousness of his past criminal conduct or the likelihood that he will commit other crimes. Accordingly, the Court found that an increase in the offense level to 32 and an increase in the criminal history category to VI were appropriate. This gave a guideline range of 210-262 months; and the defendant was sentenced to 240 months. United States v. Connor, 743 F. Supp. 582 (C.D.Ill. 1990).

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS*fn1

On December 6, 1988, the defendant met with an undercover FBI agent at the Ramada Inn in Bloomington, Illinois. The two struck a deal whereby the defendant agreed to sell the undercover agent a stolen Simon Willard grandfather clock. The purchase price was $10,000. The clock was stolen from the estate of the Woolworth family in Winthrop, Maine, in 1973. Its current market value is between $15,000-20,000. The defendant also indicated that he was in the possession of at least 12 Japanese works of art that he would be willing to sell to the undercover agent. The defendant further stated that he would contact some of his associates and get them working on obtaining other stolen items that may be of interest to the agent.

On January 12, 1989, the undercover agent again met with the defendant in Bloomington. The defendant offered the agent three paintings that he said had been stolen from the Meade Gallery at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. The defendant's asking price was $60,000, and he stated that the paintings had a value in excess of $125,000.

Also during this meeting, the defendant and the undercover agent negotiated for the defendant to supply cocaine to the agent for distribution in the Bloomington area. The defendant was to supply two kilos of medium quality cocaine every week for distribution to the students at the University of Illinois and one kilo of high grade cocaine every 3 weeks for distribution to the agent's preferred customers. The defendant stated that he would have no problem supplying these amounts once he raised enough capital for the first shipment. The agent also purchased 100 hits of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) which had a total weight of .562 grams and 93 tylox pills which contained 29.57 grams of acetaminophen. The purchase price for these drugs was $1,700.

On January 11, 1989, the defendant transported two stolen paintings from the State of Kentucky and gave the paintings to the undercover agent as collateral for a $10,000 loan to the defendant. The paintings, "St. John the Baptist" by Pieter Lastman and "Interior of the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft" by Henrick Cornelisz, were stolen in 1975 from the Meade Art Gallery at Amherst College. "St. John the Baptist" has a current market value of $160,000 and "Interior of the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft" has a current market value of $250,000.

On March 1, 1989, the undercover agent and a confidential source met with the defendant at the Logan International Airport in East Boston, Massachusetts. The undercover agent gave the defendant $24,000 with the understanding that the money was to be used to purchase cocaine. The defendant stated that he and the confidential source would fly to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, purchase a kilo of cocaine, and deliver it to the agent in Bloomington, Illinois, the following week.

The defendant and the confidential source proceeded to Ft. Lauderdale, purchased the cocaine, and returned to Illinois. The defendant was arrested upon his return. Government agents seized 950.62 grams of 96% pure cocaine and 5.51 grams of 92% pure cocaine from the defendant.

After the defendant was arrested and charged, the magistrate ordered that he be detained pending trial. The defendant was held in the Menard County Jail in Petersburg, Illinois.

On June 11, 1989, the United States Marshal's Service received information from a confidential source indicating that the defendant and another prisoner, Lester Prier, had acquired some hacksaw blades and were planning a jail break. Federal agents met with Prier and, after having been advised of his constitutional rights, Prier stated that Margo Konces sent Connor four hacksaw blades concealed in a book. (Although Konces was involved in the escape attempt, it was later determined that it was not she who sent Connor the saw blades.)

The agents searched the cells of Connor, Prier, and another prisoner, Michael Wright. The search turned up four hacksaw blades and a hardbound book containing a hollowed out area in which the blades could be concealed. The agents also observed that a four to five inch cut had been made in the steel ceiling of Prier's cell and that the head of a bolt on an exhaust duct had been sawed off.

In an effort to apprehend Connor's outside accomplices in the escape attempt, the agents decided to make it appear as if the escape had been successful. Thus, at the direction of federal agents, the confidential informant telephoned Margo Konces in Massachusetts and identified himself as an inmate who had escaped with Connor. Konces inquired as to how she could be of help. Upon being informed that the supposedly escaped prisoners needed someone to transport them, Konces informed the confidential informant that she ...


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