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United States v. Bailey

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 3, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ADRIAN BAILEY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Michael M. Mihm, United States District Judge

         This matter came before the Court for a bench trial on October 31, 2016. This Order is intended to memorialize the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds Defendant Adrian Bailey (“Defendant”) GUILTY of Count Three of the indictment.

         BACKGROUND AND TESTIMONY

         On May 20, 2015, Defendant was charged in this Court by way of a three-count indictment. See ECF No. 1. The indictment charged Defendant with: (1) Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute (“Count One”); (2) Felon in Possession of a Firearm (“Count Two”); and (3) Use, Carrying and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime (“Count Three”). Id.

         On February 23, 2016, Defendant entered a “blind” plea of guilty to Counts One and Two. Minute Entry dated 2/23/2016. Subsequently, Count Three was set for a trial to be held October 31, 2016. Minute Entry dated 8/5/2016. The trial was held on that date.

         At trial, Benjamin Johnston of the Peoria County Sheriff's Office, Jordan Allen, a confidential informant, and Bryan Anderson of Peoria M.E.G. testified at trial. (Minute Entry dated 10/31/016). The testimony was uncontroverted that Agent Johnston, undercover, and Allen met with the Defendant on March 31, 2015, to purchase a handgun and marijuana. The Parties stipulated that the handgun sold on March 31, 2015, was a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, meeting the federal definition of a firearm in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(A). (ECF No. 29). The Parties further stipulated the drugs received from the Defendant contained marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance. (ECF No. 29).

         Allen testified he often posted items for sale on various social media. Allen further testified Defendant contacted him in March of 2015, proposing to trade a lawnmower he had listed for sale in exchange for a gun. Allen also testified the Defendant suggested “weed” could be purchased. Allen testified, and Agent Anderson confirmed, that shortly after Defendant contacted him, Allen reached out to Agent Anderson to inform him of the discussion he had had with Defendant. Agent Anderson instructed Allen to continue the conversation with Defendant for a cash purchase of the gun. Agent Anderson also suggested Allen suggest a transaction to purchase drugs. Prior to March 31, 2015, there were multiple discussions, as well as text communications, between Allen and Defendant. The text communications showed two other guns Defendant had for sale, but did not contain the gun ultimately purchased by Agent Johnston. ECF No. 31.

         As noted above, on March 31, 2015, Agent Johnston and Allen met with Defendant to purchase the gun and marijuana. Agent Johnston brought a video/audio recorder to the transaction. The recording was entered into evidence. ECF No. 31. The video shows, albeit in very “shaky” form, the transaction that occurred between these parties, and it is clear to the Court that Defendant was prepared to - as well as it was understood he would - sell both a gun and marijuana during the transaction. Defendant also handed small bags of marijuana to Allen, while keeping some on his person. Furthermore, when a search warrant was later executed at Defendant's residence, law enforcement found, inter alia, 77 grams of marijuana, some of which was sitting on a scale.

         DISCUSSION

         18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) provides:

(c)(1)(A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime-
(i) be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;
(ii) if the firearm is brandished, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 7 years; and
(iii) if the firearm is discharged, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not ...

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