November 1, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of Illinois. No. 1:15-cr-10033-MMM-JEH-1- Michael M.
MANION, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.
ROVNER, Circuit Judge.
Bailey offered to sell marijuana to an informant who had
already brokered the purchase of a firearm from him; the
informant accepted the offer and purchased $40 worth of
marijuana from Bailey contemporaneously with the firearm
purchase. On that basis, Bailey was convicted after a bench
trial of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime. See 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A). Bailey appeals the conviction, contending that
the facts do not tie the gun and the marijuana purchase
together so as to demonstrate that the gun actually furthered
the marijuana sale; as he sees it, his possession of the
firearm was simply coincident with the marijuana transaction.
We disagree. Because it was the opportunity to purchase a
firearm that brought the informant to Bailey and made
possible the secondary sale of marijuana to the informant,
the facts support the finding that Bailey's possession of
the weapon furthered the marijuana sale. We therefore affirm
March of 2015, Bailey telephoned Jordan Allen to inquire
about a lawnmower that Allen had posted for sale on Facebook.
Allen and Bailey had met on a prior occasion through
Bailey's father, who had cleaned some automobiles for
Allen. Bailey indicated that he was interested in the
lawn-mower and offered to trade Allen a gun for it. Allen
said that he would have to think about it. During the same
conversation, the two had what Allen would later describe as
a "light discussion" about an opportunity to
purchase marijuana: Bailey told him that he had some
"good weed" for sale if Allen was interested. R. 45
at 46, 94.
as it turned out, was a convicted felon who at that time was
facing charges of aggravated battery and criminal damage to
property; he also knew that Bailey had a criminal history and
was on parole. He contacted Galesburg, Illinois police
officer Bryan Anderson, with whom he had worked as an
informant for a number of years, in the hope of parlaying the
call from Bailey into a dismissal of the criminal charges
pending against himself. Anderson directed Allen to see if
Bailey would sell the gun to him for cash rather than trading
it for the lawnmower.
followed up with Bailey about the possibility of buying the
gun, and the two proceeded to have a number of telephone
conversations and exchanges of text messages over the terms
of a purchase. Bailey initially proposed to sell Allen two
guns for $500. Allen replied that it was his
"buddy" who was going to purchase the guns, and
that Allen was waiting for his friend to assemble the money.
Bailey urged him to "hurry up" or the guns would be
sold to someone else. R. 45 at 49. Bailey subsequently told
Allen that those guns had in fact been sold, but he told
Allen he could sell him another (single) gun for $200. They
arranged to meet at Bailey's home to complete the
transaction; Bailey texted Allen his address.
had also advised Anderson that Bailey had marijuana available
for sale, and Anderson had instructed Allen to go ahead and
buy a small amount. Anderson remarked that the dual purchase
was a "more plausible" scenario that might allay
any suspicions on Bailey's part about the transaction.
Allen never discussed with Bailey in advance what quantity of
marijuana Bailey had available or the terms on which he would
sell it to Allen. Allen simply assumed that Bailey would have
at least $40 worth on hand to sell him.
transaction was consummated at Bailey's home in Galesburg
on March 31, 2015. Deputy Ben Johnston of the Peoria County
Sheriff's Office, who would pose as the "buddy"
who wanted the gun, met Allen ahead of time. Johnston had
$200 in pre-recorded 20-dollar bills with him to buy the gun,
and he gave another $40 in pre-recorded cash to Allen to
purchase the marijuana. Johnston used a key-fob camera to
record the meeting. After Bailey informed them by phone that
the gun had arrived, Allen and Johnston drove together to his
met them on the front porch of his residence, handing Allen a
red and black "Beats by Dr. Dre" headphones box as
they entered the home. Allen put the box down on a couch,
prompting Bailey to point at the box and remark,
"It's in there." R. 45 at 15. Johnston sat down
next to the box and opened it to reveal a Smith & Wesson
revolver inside. As Johnston was inspecting the gun, Bailey
asked Allen whether he still wanted some marijuana. Allen
responded in the affirmative and handed Bailey the $40.
Bailey removed five small baggies of marijuana from a larger
bag and handed them to Allen. Bailey then picked up the gun and
manipulated it to show Johnston that it was in working
condition. The gun was unloaded, and Johnston asked Bailey
about ammunition. Bailey said that he could provide bullets
on the following day. Bailey remarked that he had sold six
other guns over the course of the preceding week and might be
able to sell additional firearms to Johnston if he was
interested. Johnston paid Bailey $200 for the firearm, and he
and Allen left Bailey's home.
warrant-authorized search of Bailey's residence was
conducted later that same day. Officers recovered $220 of the
$240 in pre-recorded bills that Allen and Johnston had used
to buy the marijuana and the revolver. They also retrieved
roughly 90 grams of marijuana from multiple bags found around
the house, as well as a digital scale.
jury later charged Bailey with three offenses: (1)
possession, with the intent to distribute, the marijuana he
sold to Allen, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C);
(2) possession of a firearm following a felony conviction, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); and (3) possessing a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).[ ...