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United States v. Krasinski

September 19, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
PIOTR KRASINSKI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 03 CR 251-John W. Darrah, Judge.

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

ARGUED FEBRUARY 25, 2008

Before ROVNER, WOOD, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

Piotr Krasinski raises several challenges to the sentence he received for conspiring to distribute Ecstasy and conspiring to launder monetary instruments. We find none persuasive. First, we reject his challenge to the enhancement he received under U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(B) because the transfer of money from the United States to Canada to pay for the pills he supplied "promoted the carrying on" of the drug conspiracy. Next, the district court did not clearly err when it estimated the number of pills attributable to Krasinski by performing a calculation based on the range he admitted in his plea agreement. In light of Krasinski's admissions that he threatened a cooperating witness and his family, the district court was also justified in imposing an obstruction of justice enhancement and denying an acceptance of responsibility reduction. Finally, Krasinski's sentence at the low end of the advisory guidelines range was reasonable. As a result, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I. BACKGROUND

Piotr Krasinski, a Canadian citizen and resident, pled guilty to conspiring to distribute 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as "MDMA" or "Ecstasy," in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. He also pled guilty to conspiring to launder monetary instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2). Krasinski admitted in his plea agreement that from 1999 through March 2003, he agreed with Piotr Misiolek, Andrzej Ogonowski, and others to distribute Ecstasy pills. He further admitted that he generally brokered deals ranging from 5,000 to 30,000 pills per delivery, that he delivered pills to the others on approximately eight to ten occasions, and that on March 5, 2003, he delivered 7,000 pills.

Krasinski typically sold the pills at a cost of $3.50 to $6 per pill knowing that the pills would be resold for at least $8 to $10. Krasinski's co-conspirators sometimes brought United States currency into Canada to pay him for the pills. At other times, Krasinski received payment in United States currency while in the United States and then brought the money back to Canada with him, and on some occasions, Krasinski's co-conspirators in the United States sent him money in Canada after the pills had been delivered.

After his arrest, Krasinski learned that Ogonowski had provided information to the government concerning Krasinski's involvement in the Ecstasy scheme. Krasinski told another inmate to tell Ogonowski that Krasinski knew people in Poland who would hurt him if he did not help Krasinski, and he provided a false story for Ogonowski to tell. Later, while Krasinski and Ogonowski were transported to court together, he told Ogonowski that if anyone testified against him, that person would have his throat cut. He also made a slashing motion across his throat. The next month, in a conversation recorded by the government, Krasinski suggested he would harm Ogonowski if he did not follow through with Krasinski's false story.

Using the United States Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time of the sentencing hearing on October 26, 2004, the district court concluded that Krasinski's guidelines range, although he had no criminal history, was 292 to 365 months. The district court imposed a sentence of 292 months' imprisonment. On appeal, in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision its opinion in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), we vacated and remanded Krasinski's sentence because it was unclear whether the district court had applied the guidelines in a mandatory or advisory manner. After a new sentencing hearing, the district again imposed a sentence of 292 months' imprisonment. Krasinski appeals and raises multiple challenges to his sentence.

II. ANALYSIS

A. U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(B) Enhancement

Krasinski maintains he should not have received an enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(B), which provides for a two-level enhancement in money laundering cases "if the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1956." He did not object to this enhancement before the district court, so our review is for plain error. See United States v. Wainwright, 509 F.3d 812, 815 (7th Cir. 2007).

Krasinski pled guilty to conspiring to launder monetary instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). That might seem to end matters, as he was "convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1956," but the government does not argue that it does.*fn1

Instead, although Krasinski does not challenge his conviction itself in this proceeding, the dispute on appeal concerns whether Krasinski's conduct was enough to sup-port his money laundering conviction. Krasinski maintains that it was not, and, therefore, ...


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