United States v. Bustos

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Four men conspired to sell heroin to an undercover officer. Arturo and Enemicio had phone conversations with the officers, arranging to sell 995 grams of heroin for $180,000. Enemicio drove Arturo to the officer’s car. Arturo instructed him to drive to another location, where Omar verified that the officer had the cash. Tomas arrived carrying a firearm and the heroin. The men were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute a mixture containing 100 grams or more of heroin, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 846, and distribution of 100 or more grams of heroin. Enemicio, additionally charged for a previous heroin deal, had one prior burglary conviction and was sentenced to 65 months. Tomas, additionally charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, was sentenced to 110 months. Arturo pleaded guilty to Count Two. The court calculated Arturo’s criminal history using his 2009 conviction for manufacturing and delivering cocaine, based on charges filed in 1990, and more recent convictions for possession of a controlled substance and of an altered identification card. Arturo committed the 2016 offense while on parole; he had two much older convictions. His advisory range was 100-125 months, with a statutory mandatory minimum of 60 months. Arturo argued, under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a), that the calculation “over-represented” his criminal history due to the time between the 1990 crime and his conviction, that his co-defendants played a larger role in the conspiracy, and a lower sentence would avoid a disparity between his sentence and Enemicio’s. Arturo also cited age, poor health, low likelihood of recidivism, and that he would face harsh conditions because his status as a deportable alien would prevent him from accessing prison programs and resources. The Seventh Circuit affirmed Arturo's 100-month sentence. The district court thoroughly considered the facts and Arturo’s arguments. View "United States v. Bustos" on Justia Law

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