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United States v. Flores-Sandoval

August 28, 1996

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

AGUSTIN FLORES-SANDOVAL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 94 CR 473 Brian Barnett Duff, Judge.

Before CUMMINGS, MANION, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

MANION, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED MARCH 29, 1996

DECIDED AUGUST 28, 1996

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Agustin Flores-Sandoval ("Flores") pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 72 kilograms of cocaine. He was sentenced to a 200-month term of imprisonment and fined $8,000. Flores appeals his sentence, and argues he should be granted a new sentencing hearing because the government violated the disclosure requirements of Brady v. Maryland. We affirm the district court.

I.

Early in 1994, Flores induced Marie Saldana and Kelly Longie to transport marijuana from Los Angeles to Chicago. Flores helped them obtain false Illinois driver's licenses and he and an associate, Modesto Delgado, assisted Saldana in purchasing and licensing a Chevrolet Suburban for the trip. When Flores and the two women flew to Texas to pick up the Suburban, they were met and assisted by two unidentified individuals. Flores, Saldana, and Longie then drove the Suburban to Los Angeles where, after Flores placed a phone call, yet another individual picked up the Suburban and later returned it to the motel where they were staying. Flores instructed the two women on the route they should take and the time of day they should drive from Los Angeles to Chicago. He provided them with his pager number and instructed them to phone the number each night and report the area code of their location. He then departed, leaving them to drive to Chicago. Saldana and Longie arrived in Chicago several days later and paged Flores. Delgado came to the motel where the two women were staying and picked up the Suburban. Flores paid them $3,500 each for their effort.

Several days later, the operation was repeated. The three drove to a motel in Los Angeles. Flores took the Suburban and returned it later. The two women then left for Chicago. En route, the Suburban broke down. Saldana contacted Flores who wired money for the repairs. The two women then completed their trip to Chicago where they were paid $5,000 each. Flores provided Longie with a truck to be used in a third shipment and Longie recruited a friend, Jeanette Rogerson, to accompany her. Longie and Rogerson drove the truck to Los Angeles and then back to Chicago. Flores arranged a fourth trip in which Longie and her mother carried drugs from Los Angeles in the truck at the same time Saldana, her son Jeffrey Sanchez, and Rogerson carried drugs in the Suburban. Once in Chicago, after the truck and van had been retrieved from the women, Flores and a man named Baltazar Haro paid Longie and Saldana $10,000 each for the trip.

Saldana agreed to make another (what turned out to be the final) trip in the Suburban. She, Sanchez, and Rogerson drove to Los Angeles and, as usual, checked into a motel. Saldana paged Flores, Delgado returned the page, and soon after an individual picked up the Suburban and returned it to the motel the next day. The party then left for Chicago.

Passing through Kansas they were stopped by state police who obtained their consent to search the Suburban. Concealed behind a false floor panel the police found 72 kilograms of cocaine. Saldana was arrested. She soon agreed to cooperate and told the police what she knew about the operation. To account for the time she was detained, the police had Saldana page Flores and advise him she had broken down. He wired her money for repairs. Saldana then drove the Suburban to Chicago and paged Flores. An hour later Flores and Delgado arrived at Saldana's hotel to retrieve the Suburban. Agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration followed the two and later arrested them.

Flores was charged with attempting to possess with intent to distribute approximately 72 kilograms of cocaine. In a plea he admitted he attempted to possess the 72 kilograms of cocaine contained in the final shipment and admitted the facts surrounding the final shipment as described above. Flores also admitted as relevant conduct that the other shipments had taken place at his direction as described above. Pursuant to the Sentencing Guidelines, the district court sentenced Flores to a 200-month term of imprisonment and fined him $8,000.

On appeal Flores alleges that the court incorrectly increased his sentence by erroneously finding that he was a manager or supervisor of an operation involving five or more participants, and failed to articulate its reasons for selecting his sentence and for imposing a fine. He also alleges the government breached its plea agreement and failed to turn over exculpatory evidence.

II.

A. Three-Level Increase Under ...


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