Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, May 05, 2006

Alvarez-Coria: Knowledge of Drug Type is "immaterial"

In U.S. v. Alvarez-Corria, No. 05-15683 (May 4, 2006), the Court affirmed an 86-month sentence imposed on a cocaine and methamphetamine-trafficking defendant.
The Court rejected the argument that the defendant was entitled to a minor role sentence reduction. The Court pointed out that the defendant was only held accountable for the drugs that he admitted conspiring to transport. His actual and relevant conduct were therefore the same and he did not play a minor role in that conduct.
Further, the defendant was as culpable as some of his accomplices. He gave his truck as security for the transaction. The higher-ups in the conspiracy used him to coordinate the movements of others. And he was, most importantly, entrusted to drive away with the drugs at the end of the transaction.
The Court rejected the argument that the defendant thought cocaine, not methamphetamine, was being transported, and therefore should only be punished for cocaine. The Court noted that the defendant’s knowledge of the type of drug involved was "immaterial."