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United States v. Oliveira

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

October 24, 2018

UNITED STATES, Appellee,
v.
CAETANO OLIVEIRA, Defendant, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, U.S. District Judge]

          Samia Hossain, Assistant Federal Public Defender, with whom Jessica P. Thrall, Assistant Federal Public Defender, was on brief for appellant.

          Alexia Rhae De Vincentis, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Caitlin E. Keiper, Special Assistant United States Attorney, and Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney, were on brief for appellee.

          Before Lynch, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

          LYNCH, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Brockton, Massachusetts police arrested Caetano Oliveira in August 2016 while executing a search warrant on an apartment in which drugs, drug paraphernalia, guns, and ammunition were found. Following a federal indictment, Oliveira pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun, a pistol, and twenty rounds of ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). His prior state convictions included drug distribution and assault with a dangerous weapon ("ADW").

         Oliveira requested a sentence of forty-eight months. The government recommended 100 months, a sentence at the bottom of the 100- to 120-month range calculated in the presentence report ("PSR"). The district court sentenced Oliveira to eighty-six months, fourteen months below the government recommendation. The district court could have reached the same sentence within the guideline range, but calculated the sentence on the basis of an enhancement.

         Appealing this sentence, Oliveira first disputes the district court's determination that his prior Massachusetts ADW conviction qualifies as a "crime of violence" under the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("the Guidelines"). Second, he challenges the district court's application of a sentencing enhancement for possession "in connection with" another felony. See U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B). We affirm.

         I.

         In the summer of 2016, Brockton police had been investigating a heroin dealer, Sariah Lynn Miranda, who lived in the apartment where Oliveira was arrested. After buying heroin on multiple occasions from Miranda through a confidential informant, police obtained a search warrant for Miranda's apartment. Once inside, police found five grams of heroin, cash, a scale, and drug packaging materials in the bedroom occupied by Miranda. As Miranda attempted to leave -- with three more grams of heroin in hand -police arrested her.

         In the apartment's second bedroom, police encountered Oliveira, whose girlfriend, Saneta Gomes, was an occupant of the apartment and Miranda's sister. There, police found, at the end of the bed, a shoe box containing $160 in cash and 7.6 grams of marijuana packaged into three separate sandwich bags. A digital scale was perched on a shoe rack. And a box of empty sandwich bags was visible on top of the dresser.

         Inside that dresser were two loaded weapons -- a 9mm handgun and a .40 caliber pistol. There were eight rounds of 9mm ammunition and twelve rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. The handgun, which had been reported stolen, was located on the dresser's shelf, while the pistol was stashed, with some clothes, inside an orange clothing cube.

         Atop the dresser, police also spotted a copy of Oliveira's resume. Clothing and mail belonging to Oliveira were also found around the room. Although the resume and mail listed addresses for Oliveira other than the apartment, Gomes, who lived in the room, told police, "he stays here a lot."

         Oliveira and Gomes were arrested, and Oliveira admitted that the guns were his. Asked later by a detective why he had the guns, the defendant answered, "I still have ...


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