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United States v. Juarez

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

April 15, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
PEDRO JUAREZ, Defendant-Appellant.

D.C. No. 5:12-CR-00297-R-1 (W.D. Okla.)

Before BRISCOE, Chief Judge, TYMKOVICH and MORITZ, Circuit Judges.

ORDER AND JUDGMENT [*]

Nancy L. Moritz Circuit Judge

Pedro Juarez appeals his convictions for one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); seven counts of use of a communication facility in furtherance of the conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b); and six counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).

Juarez contends the district court erred in admitting statements of his alleged co-conspirators absent independent evidence he conspired with them to distribute methamphetamine. But we decline to address the admissibility of these statements because Juarez fails to specifically challenge any particular statement. Further, Juarez challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting all 14 of his convictions. Because we conclude sufficient evidence supports each of Juarez's convictions, we affirm.

Background

Over the course of law enforcement's year-long investigation into Iran Zamarripa, the regional supervisor of an international methamphetamine organization, Pedro Juarez purchased thousands of dollars' worth of methamphetamine from Zamarippa. According to Special Agent Casey Cox, Juarez regularly procured one-half ounce to two ounces of methamphetamine several times a week, often on credit. Both Cox and Zamarripa characterized Juarez's purchases as inconsistent with personal use. On one occasion, Juarez asked Zamarripa to cut him a deal on the price of two ounces of methamphetamine so Juarez could make extra profit when he resold it. And despite Juarez's modest wages-he made $15 per hour as a construction worker-Juarez managed to make timely payments for his purchases.

Based on this evidence, the jury convicted Juarez of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute; seven counts of use of a communication facility; and six counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The district court sentenced Juarez to 144 months in prison, and Juarez appealed.

Discussion

I. Juarez forfeited his hearsay argument.

Juarez first argues the district court erred in admitting the statements of his alleged co-conspirators absent independent evidence he conspired with them to distribute methamphetamine. Juarez characterizes these statements as hearsay.

Because Juarez fails to identify any specific co-conspirator statements on appeal, we decline to reach the issue. See United States v. Thornburgh, 645 F.3d 1197, 1210 (10th Cir. 2011) (refusing to address appellant's challenge to admission of co-conspirator statements because appellant neglected to identify any specific statements on appeal; failure to identify specific statements prevented court from determining whether statements were offered for truth of matters asserted); see also United States v. Lewis, 594 F.3d 1270, 1285 (10th Cir. 2010) (declining to examine each record page cited in appellant's brief to determine whether any co-conspirator statements contained therein were hearsay and, if so, whether their admission prejudiced appellant).

II. The government presented sufficient evidence to support Juarez's convictions.

Next, Juarez challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain all 14 of his convictions. Because Juarez failed to renew his Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal after presenting evidence on his own behalf, we review for plain error. See United States v. Rufai, 732 F.3d 1175, 1189 (10th Cir. ...


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