would help to distribute them. At a fourth meeting, Hernandez and Fernandez discussed
Fernandez’s drug contacts in Ecuador.
Before Hernandez’s projected smuggling trip to the Dominican Republic, an apparently
unrelated shooting occurred outside of Fernandez’s apartment. The New York City Police
Department (“NYPD”) searched the building and discovered in the hallway outside Fernandez’s
apartment a box containing, inter alia, a metal press, latex gloves with the fingers cut off, and glassine
envelopes, some of which were stamped “Last Chance.” NYPD detectives found similar glassine
envelopes in Fernandez’s bedroom. The following day, a more extensive search of Fernandez’s
apartment was conducted and additional drug paraphernalia, including a digital scale, a dust mask,
and more glassine envelopes stamped “Last Chance” were recovered.
On August 27, 2002, DEA agents arrested Fernandez. A one-count indictment charging her
with participation in a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram
or more of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 was filed on October 29, 2002. Trial began on
March 3, 2003, and it ended four days later, on March 7, when the jury returned a guilty verdict
against Fernandez on the sole count of the indictment. In connection with Fernandez’s impending
sentencing, the United States Probation Office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report
(“PSR”), which concluded that under the Guidelines the offense level was 36,
the criminal history
category was I, and the Guidelines range was 188 to 235 months.
In Fernandez’s sentencing submission, she sought the statutory mandatory minimum
sentence, 120 months, either pursuant to a downward departure within the Guidelines scheme or as
a non-Guidelines sentence. See United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103, 113 (2d Cir. 2005) (explaining
that a sentencing judge must consider the advisory Guidelines range and determine whether “([i]) to
impose the sentence that would have been imposed under the Guidelines, i.e., a sentence within the
The parties subsequently agreed that the offense level should be reduced by two levels because the PSR
miscalc ulate d the am oun t of na rcotics inv olve d.