Submitted: November 15, 2019
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
COLLOTON, WOLLMAN, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
found Giovany Frank Guzman guilty on three counts: conspiracy
to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846;
conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 960(a)(3), 960(b)(2)(B),
and 963; and attempted possession with intent to distribute
cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
841(b)(1)(B), and 846. The district court sentenced Guzman
to 190 months' imprisonment on each count, to run
concurrently. Guzman appeals his sentence, challenging his
drug-quantity based offense level and the role-enhancement
imposed under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (Guidelines) §
3B1.1(b). Guzman also challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence to sustain his conviction. We affirm.
a trip to Mexico with Oscar Gomez, Guzman's uncle and
co-defendant, Guzman sent Gomez the names and addresses of
four individuals. These addresses were provided to him by
Shelby Williams, another co-defendant. On January 24, 2017,
Customs and Border Protection intercepted a suspicious
package sent to one of the addresses Guzman had texted to
Gomez. The package was labeled as "fiber stairs,"
but after further inspection, Customs and Border Protection
discovered that the package contained 2, 990 grams of
cocaine. The package was then returned to UPS for a
controlled delivery. After communicating with Guzman,
Williams picked up the package from the UPS store and
delivered the package to him. Later that evening, law
enforcement executed a search warrant at Gomez's house
and seized the package.
the same time, a second package of "stairs for
aerobics" was intercepted by Customs and Border
Protection. The package matched one of the names and
addresses Guzman had texted to Gomez and contained two
kilograms of cocaine. No controlled delivery was attempted of
this package. A third and final package, weighing 8.7
kilograms, was picked up at a FedEx location in Moline, Iowa.
Law enforcement did not seize or inspect this package because
they did not learn of its delivery until later in the
investigation. The package's description, "aerobic
step," was similar to the other two intercepted packages
and matched an address provided to Guzman by Williams.
sentencing, the district court, adopting the presentence
report (PSR), attributed all three packages to Guzman, found
that the amount of cocaine involved exceeded five kilograms,
and held that Guzman's base offense level was 30.
See U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(a)(5), (c)(5). The
district court also applied a three-level enhancement to
Guzman's base offense level as a manager or supervisor of
Williams. See U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(b). The court
determined that Guzman's total offense level was 35, that
his criminal history category was IV, and that his advisory
sentencing range was 235 to 293 months' imprisonment.
first argues that insufficient evidence exists to support his
convictions on all counts. He contends that the government
failed to prove that he had knowledge of the contents of any
of the packages.
reviewing sufficiency of the evidence claims, we view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the government.
United States v. Vinton, 429 F.3d 811, 815 (8th Cir.
2005). "We must uphold the verdict if any reasonable
jury could have found the elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt." Id. (quoting United
States v. McDougal, 137 F.3d 547, 553 (8th Cir. 1998)).
The evidence supports the jury's finding that Guzman knew
that the packages contained cocaine and knew the purpose of
the agreement in which he had joined. The government
presented evidence that Guzman had traveled to Leon, Mexico
with Gomez. Soon after their trip, Guzman texted Gomez
addresses and names of individuals. Packages were shipped
from Leon, Mexico to the addresses provided by Guzman. Guzman
received the packages from Williams and then gave them to
Gomez. Guzman's surreptitious behavior with respect to
the packages and his involvement with receiving the packages
could lead a jury to conclude that Guzman knew of the
packages' illicit contents. We thus hold that there was
sufficient evidence to support all three counts of
also challenges the district court's calculation of his
offense level, arguing that the district court clearly erred
in determining that the conspiracy involved five or more
kilograms of cocaine. See United States v. Marshall,
411 F.3d 891, 894 (8th Cir. 2005) (standard of review). We
disturb the district court's determination "only if
the entire record definitely and firmly convinces us that a
mistake has been made." United States v.
Titlbach, 300 F.3d 919, 923 (8th Cir. 2002).
district court concluded that Guzman was responsible for all
three packages, the combined contents of which consisted of
more than five kilograms of cocaine. Although Guzman concedes
that the first two packages together amounted to at least 4,
990 grams, he argues that the district court clearly erred in
attributing the third package to him, with the result that
the determination of any amount of cocaine in the third
package constituted "mere speculation" by the
district court did not clearly err when it held that the
third package had some amount of cocaine attributable to
Guzman. The package's name and address matched a name and
address provided by Guzman to Gomez. As with the other two
packages, this package originated from Leon, Mexico and was
labeled as an "aerobic step." Williams also
admitted to picking up a package from FedEx for Guzman.
Although the third package was never inspected by law
enforcement, sufficient circumstantial evidence connected the
package to Guzman, and given the temporal proximity to the
delivery of the other packages, it was reasonable to conclude
that at least ten grams of cocaine were in the third package.
See United States v. Atkins, 250 F.3d 1203, 1212
(8th Cir. 2001) ("[The Guidelines] gives the court the
authority to approximate the quantity of drugs where there is
no seizure or where the amount seized does not reflect the
scale of the offense."). The district court thus did not
clearly err when it found that the quantity of cocaine
exceeded five kilograms.
Guzman argues that the district court clearly erred in
finding that he had acted as a manager or supervisor. See
United States v. Cosey, 602 F.3d 943, 947 (8th Cir.
2010) (standard of review). Under Guidelines § 3B1.1(b),
Guzman's offense level was subject to a three-level
increase if he was a "manager or supervisor (but not an
organizer or leader) and the criminal activity involved five
or more participants or was otherwise extensive." We
have held that a defendant may be subject to the enhancement
even if he managed or supervised only one participant,
limited to a single transaction. See United States v.
Valencia, 829 F.3d 1007, 1012 (8th Cir. 2016). The
evidence supports the district court's application of the
enhancement. Guzman used Williams to provide the names and
addresses of individuals, so that Guzman could transmit these
to Gomez. ...