Defendant was engaged in sale of cocaine. Before his last transaction defendant allegedly agreed to a scheme with two other accomplices to acquire three kilograms of cocaine in Florida and bring it to Michigan. Pursuant to their agreement, defendant has had to help pay for co-conspirators to go to Florida to meet with his contact there. The level of criminal liability was defined on the base of defendant’s transactions with fourteen kilograms of cocaine.
The US Court of Appeals drew all available inferences and resolved all issues of credibility in favor of the jury’s verdict. Subsequently, the case was remanded for resentencing.
21 U.S.C.S. § 846 prescribes following elements of conspiracy: (1) an agreement between two or more people to violate the antidrug statutes, (2) knowledge and intent of each suspect to join the conspiracy, and (3) participation in the conspiracy.
As per definition, criminal conspiracy is an agreement which should not necessarily formal or express. That the delinquent agreed to join a conspiracy to violate the antidrug statutes can be sufficient ground to assume existence of conspiracy is proven. Therefore, the mere evidence is alleging the participation of the person defendant in conspiracy. However, knowledge of and participation in the conspiracy by that person must be proved in face of actual circumstances of the particular case. Although a buyer-seller relationship does not make the suspect a participant in a drug conspiracy, his actions ought to be part of chain conspiracies inferred from the interdependence of the enterprise.
Whether trial court’s charge of the defendant with conspiracy to distribute or to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 846 was well reasoned in existence of all factual evidences and testimony of witnesses.
The US Court of Appeals held that trial court has had sufficient evidence of defendant’s agreement, knowledge, and participation in a conspiracy to deal with cocaine. It was, consequently, asserted that although defendant might get surprised by the evidence presented against him, he was not convicted for the substantive acts of another, and there was minimal chance of spillover. “As to sentencing, there was sufficient evidence to conclude that defendant was responsible for at least three kilograms of cocaine. However, the district court erred in calculating his criminal history category”.
According to the appellate court “the government does not have to prove either the commission of a substantive crime or that the conspiracy was successful”.