Argued Sept. 23, 2013.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Megan Cunniff Church, Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Beau B. Brindley, Attorney, Law Offices of Beau B. Brindley, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant.
Before BAUER, KANNE, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
KANNE, Circuit Judge.
Roberto Sandoval-Velazco appeals the district court's denial of a mitigating role reduction as well as the district court's application of post- Booker sentencing. Sandoval-Velazco argued at sentencing that his role as a courier should entitle him to a minor role reduction. The district court found that he had considerable contact with large amounts of narcotics and denied the reduction. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
As early as 2009, Sandoval-Velazco, together with co-defendants Antonio Mendoza and Manuel Chavez, coordinated the distribution of large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana for a Mexican drug-trafficking organization in Chicago. Sandoval-Velazco also assisted in the collection and transportation of United States currency, which comprised the proceeds from the sale of these narcotics. Sandoval-Velazco primarily acted as a courier. He received instructions on where to obtain and deliver the narcotics from higher-ranked members of the organization. Sandoval-Velazco's probation officer stated in the Presentence Investigation Report (" PSR" ) that he was personally responsible for more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and 8.5 kilograms of heroin.
On April 28, 2010, Sandoval-Velazco, along with five others, was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Sandoval-Velazco pled guilty to five counts in connection with the distribution of illicit drugs.
According to the PSR, Sandoval-Velazco's base offense level was 38, as the amount of narcotics was equivalent to 46,400 kilograms of marijuana. He was granted a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, which lowered his total offense level to 35. The probation officer determined that no mitigating role adjustment was applicable because he was fully active in the conspiracy. She found that Sandoval-Velazco completed all tasks that were asked of him, which included obtaining and distributing large quantities of cocaine and heroin.
Sandoval-Velazco filed an objection to the PSR, arguing that he should be entitled to a two or three-level reduction for having a minor role in the drug ...