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United States v. Campbell

July 15, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GEORGE CAMPBELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 04 CR 751-Joan B. Gottschall, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED FEBRUARY 12, 2008

Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and RIPPLE and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

George Campbell was charged with one count of possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); and with four counts of using a telephone in the commission of a felony drug offense, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b). A jury convicted Mr. Campbell of all five counts. The district court sentenced him to concurrent prison terms of 48 and 120 months, followed by eight years of supervised release.

For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I. BACKGROUND

A.

In early 2004, Raul Montenegro, a known drug dealer, had several telephone conversations with Mr. Campbell about the possibility of Mr. Campbell's purchasing cocaine from him. On July 7, 2004, Montenegro called Mr. Campbell*fn1 and stated: "Uh, my friend call me. Probably they they're gonna meet tomorrow for, the, the remember I told you? Probably the one, they want tickets for the, the Big Game." Appellee's App. at 2. Mr. Campbell responded, "Yeah, one ticket or two tickets?" Montenegro said, "Probably one," and explained, "He wanna, he wanna make sure how it, how it is, okay?" Id. Mr. Campbell responded, "Gotcha," and Montenegro told him that he would call him the next day. Id.

On July 8, 2004, after having numerous conversations with Miguel Diaz, his drug supplier, Montenegro called Mr. Campbell and said, "Yeah. Uh, according to everything, I'm going to pick up my lady. You know, my girlfriend, take it with me." Id. at 28. Montenegro and Mr. Campbell then made arrangements to meet at Mr. Campbell's residence. In the interim, Montenegro met with Diaz and picked up one kilogram of cocaine. Later that night, Montenegro called Mr. Campbell and told him that he was about to arrive at Mr. Campbell's residence. Mr. Campbell told Montenegro that he would be home shortly and that he would tell someone at his residence to let Montenegro in.

At trial, Montenegro testified that he entered Mr. Camp-bell's residence with the one kilogram of cocaine. According to Montenegro, when Mr. Campbell arrived at the residence he explained that there was an unfamiliar car in a nearby parking lot. He asked Montenegro if Montenegro had arrived at the residence alone. Montenegro assured Mr. Campbell that he had done so. Mr. Campbell pointed to the unfamiliar car from the window of the residence, but Montenegro could not identify the vehicle. Still unsatisfied, Mr. Campbell made Montenegro accompany him outside in an effort to have Montenegro identify the unfamiliar vehicle. Montenegro nevertheless could not identify the car.

Prior to leaving Mr. Campbell's residence to inspect the car, Montenegro left the kilogram of cocaine in Mr. Campbell's house, either on a table or on his couch. At trial, Montenegro testified:

AUSA: At some point while you were in the apartment with George Campbell, did you give him the kilogram of cocaine?

MONTENEGRO: Well, actually I left I think on the table or in the couch, something like that. I don't remember where.

I put it there because we went outside. I wasn't-I wasn't-not carrying that thing with me outside the house because we were thinking like maybe there was police or something else, so-or rob or something. So I left it there.

AUSA: [W]as George Campbell there at the table when you took the cocaine out?

MONTENEGRO: When I took it? No, I didn't took it, actually. But he was there but he was-actually we were talking about who was in that car, you know, who could that be. So we didn't pay attention to the-just got out, tried to identify the car.

AUSA: So at any point did you give George Campbell the cocaine while ...


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