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United States v. Granado

December 22, 1995

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

EMMETT GRANADO, JR.,

DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

No. 94 CR 40004 -- Michael M. Mihm, Chief Judge.

Before EASTERBROOK, RIPPLE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

ROVNER, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED FEBRUARY 22, 1995

DECIDED DECEMBER 22, 1995

Emmett Granado, Jr., pled guilty to a charge that he and co-defendant Keith Collier had attempted to possess, with the intent to distribute, more than 500 grams of cocaine and marijuana. On appeal, Granado challenges two aspects of his sentencing: a two-level enhancement to his offense level for playing an aggravating role in the offense, and the imposition of a $100,000 fine that the district court believed could be satisfied from real estate titled in the name of his putative common-law wife. We affirm.

I.

Granado's arrest was the culmination of a "reverse sting" operation conducted by Kleberg County, Texas Deputy Sheriffs Jaime Garza and Juan Guzman. Garza and Guzman contacted Granado in the fall of 1993 identifying themselves as drug suppliers and friends of "Louie," one of Granado's associates.

After a series of telephone conversations, Garza and Guzman finally met with Granado on November 11 at a Hardee's Restaurant in Moline, Illinois. Granado's daughter, Martina, accompanied her father to the meeting but sat at a separate table in the restaurant, out of hearing range. Granado indicated he was prepared to make an initial purchase of two kilograms of cocaine and ultimately four kilograms per month, so long as it was supplied to him on credit. Granado also sought to purchase 100 pounds of marijuana for one of his sons to resell; Granado himself did not like to traffic in that particular drug due to its bulk. So that Garza and Guzman might maintain a lower profile while in Illinois, Granado suggested that they keep an extra car with Illinois plates and proof of insurance, and offered to provide these items. Granado also explained that he avoided banks and either gave the profits from his business to his children or invested the money in real estate, titling some 150 properties in the names of his "nine different women" and "thirty-three kids." Tr. Nov. 11, 1993 at 9-10. Thus his seventeen-year-old daughter held fifty houses in her name. Id. at 13.

On the following day, Garza and Guzman informed Granado that they could not complete the initial two-kilogram sale at that time, but they subsequently assured him that they could do so on their next trip to Illinois, after Thanksgiving. True to their promise, the deputies contacted Granado when they returned to Illinois on November 30 and arranged to meet him at the Moline Hardee's on the following day. Martina Granado once again accompanied her father to the meeting; but, at her father's direction, after unloading a briefcase and placing it in the trunk of his car, she waited inside the restaurant while Granado and the undercover deputies talked in the parking lot outside. Granado told Garza and Guzman that an associate had enough money ($11,000) to purchase part of the cocaine; but Granado confessed to having the "willies" about transacting business with relative strangers. After trying unsuccessfully to re-arrange the logistics of the purchase, Granado finally agreed to pick up his associate and bring him to the Hardee's.

Granado and his daughter left and drove to his office, where Keith Collier was waiting per Granado's instruction. So far as Collier knew, Granado wanted to see him about an apartment that Collier had expressed an interest in renting; with that in mind, Collier had brought with him $800 for the first two months' rent and a partial deposit. When Granado arrived at the office, however, he told Collier that he needed a favor in exchange for which Collier could keep half of the rent money.

Collier then accompanied Granado and his daughter back to the Hardee's parking lot. While en route, and in the presence of his daughter, Granado recruited Collier to negotiate the purchase of a half-kilogram of cocaine for $11,000 and to make it appear as if Granado himself were not involved in the transaction. Granado assured Collier that Garza was "straight," but explained "I just don't want him [Garza] to think that it's for me. . . . When you talk to him, you've got to make it look good, make it look like I'm not involved." R. 49 at 51.

When they arrived at Hardee's, Granado introduced Collier to Garza and Guzman as a "good man" (Tr. Dec. 1, 1993 at 23-24) and then excused himself from the negotiations. Collier proceeded to discuss the eventual purchase of three kilograms every two weeks and the immediate purchase of one-half kilogram for $11,000. Collier explained that he did not have the cash with him at that time, indicating that Granado would be the go-between. Garza repeatedly insisted that they would have to see the "paper" before they handed over the cocaine. Id. at 26, 28.

Collier returned to Granado's car and drove back to Granado's office with Granado and his daughter. Granado asked if everything had gone well with the negotiation and Collier assured him that "[e]verything's straight." R. 49 at 60. When they reached the office, Martina left the car to retrieve the money. When she returned, Collier got into his van and followed Granado and his daughter back to Hardee's. Within a block or two of the restaurant, Collier ...


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