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United States v. Mullins

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

February 4, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
CHRISTOPHER MULLINS, Defendant, Appellant

Page 38

APPEAL fro THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE. Hon. John A. Woodcock, Jr., U.S. District Judge.

William S. Smith for appellant.

Seth R. Aframe, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom John P. Kacavas, United States Attorney, was on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Stahl and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 39

KAYATTA, Circuit Judge.

Christopher Mullins appeals his conviction and sentence for conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 846. He presses three primary arguments on appeal: (1) the record lacks sufficient evidence to convict him of the charged conspiracy; (2) the district court plainly erred in instructing the jury on the conspiracy charge; and (3) the district court clearly erred in calculating the drug quantity attributable to Mullins. Finding all three arguments unpersuasive, we affirm the conviction and the sentence in all respects.

I. Background

A. The Evidence

Because Mullins challenges the sufficiency of the evidence after a jury found him guilty, " we view the facts in the light most favorable to the verdict." United States v. Adorno-Molina, 774 F.3d 116, 2014 WL 7234953, at *1 (1st Cir. 2014).

In September 2011, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (" MDEA" ) agents investigated a drug trafficking organization operating out of 100 Ohio Street in Bangor, Maine. The leaders of this organization shipped crack and powder cocaine from the New York City area to Maine via Greyhound bus. As part of the investigation, MDEA agents, using a confidential informant (" CI" ),[1] conducted a controlled purchase of $350 worth of powder cocaine from Mullins. CI wore a " body wire" (an electronic transmitting device that transmits all audio within earshot). After CI arrived at Mullins's apartment, Mullins called the 100 Ohio Street organization. During the call, Mullins mentioned someone named " Bullet," [2] a member of the organization.

Shortly after Mullins called, a green Lexus pulled up to his apartment. " Fish," [3] another member of the organization, came inside Mullins's apartment. Mullins and Fish met alone for about two ...


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