Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, November 23, 2020

Delgado: Upholding Drug and Silencer Convictions

In United States v. Delgado, No. 19-11997 (Nov. 23, 2020) (Baker (S.D. Ga.), Newsom, Branch), the Court affirmed the defendant’s drug and silencer convictions.

First, the Court concluded that a search warrant was supported by probable cause to believe that there would be drugs in the defendant’s home.  Authorities intercepted packages from overseas that were addressed to the defendant at his residence; it didn’t matter that the packages were not actually delivered.  And, in any event, the good faith exception applied.

Second, the district court did not clearly err by considering as relevant conduct another package that was addressed to the defendant, even though it was the subject of a count that was dismissed.  The Court found it unnecessary to determine whether the Supreme Court’s decision in McFadden applied to relevant conduct for sentencing purposes because the government proved by a preponderance of circumstantial evidence that the defendant knew the package contained a controlled substance.

Finally, the district court did not clearly err by imposing an enhancement in USSG 2D1.1(b)(1) for possessing a firearm in connection with a drug offense.  There were numerous firearms and silencers found at the home with the drugs, and the defendant could not meet his burden to establish that their connection was improbable.