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United States v. Correa-Santos

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 8, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Amado Correa-Santos, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted January 16, 2015.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Fayetteville.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Clay Fowlkes, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Dustin S. Roberts, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith, AR.

Amado Correa-Santos, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Fort Dix, NJ.

For Amado Correa-Santos, Defendant - Appellant: Ken Osborne, Fayetteville, AR.

Before LOKEN, MELLOY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 308

GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.

Amado Correa-Santos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1) and 846. After vacating his original sentence, the district court[1] sentenced him to 240 months' imprisonment. Correa-Santos now appeals. We affirm.

In early 2010, law enforcement officials learned that Javier Lopez-Montejano and Mario Lopez were supplying large amounts of methamphetamine from Iowa to northwest Arkansas. During a telephone call intercepted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (" DEA" ), Lopez-Montejano and Lopez identified Correa-Santos as a distributor. In a second intercepted call, Lopez asked Correa-Santos if he needed " cars," a code word for methamphetamine. Correa-Santos responded that he would answer later. In the interim, Lopez made the same offer to a second Arkansas distributor. The second distributor asked for five pounds of methamphetamine, and Lopez made arrangements to have the drugs sent via minivan on March 13, 2010.

On March 12, the day before the planned shipment, Lopez called Correa-Santos and explained that he had coordinated a delivery to Arkansas. Correa-Santos said that he did not need more methamphetamine because he had enough

Page 309

to continue distributing. The next morning, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers stopped the minivan transporting the drugs to Arkansas. A trooper's drug dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, and a subsequent vehicle search revealed approximately five pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment.

The DEA and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (" ICE" ) jointly investigated the methamphetamine-distribution ring responsible for this drug shipment. The investigation revealed that Correa-Santos had received five-pound shipments of methamphetamine every two to three months for two years. H.e then sold the drugs either directly or through another dealer. Telephone records showed that Correa-Santos had spoken with members of the methamphetamine-distribution ring, including the second Arkansas distributor for whom the March 13 shipment from Lopez and Lopez-Montejano was intended. Investigators also learned that Correa-Santos and his relatives maintained several " stash" houses in Arkansas used by the ...


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