Rodriguez had been previously convicted of several drug trafficking offenses.
Most recently, on November 5, 2002, he was convicted in federal court of distribution of
controlled substances (heroin and crack cocaine), and sentenced to 63 months‟
imprisonment. As a non-U.S. citizen, after his release, he was deported from the United
States and flown to the Dominican Republic on April 23, 2008.
On April 6, 2011, the District Court held a sentencing hearing, during which the
Court calculated the Sentencing Guidelines offense level at 35 and placed Rodriguez in
criminal history category VI. The resulting Guidelines range was 292 to 365 months‟
imprisonment. At sentencing, Rodriguez‟s attorney argued for a bottom-of-the
Guidelines sentence, or a non-Guidelines sentence, on the ground that a sentence of 365
months might lead to Rodriguez‟s dying in prison with no chance for rehabilitation.
Before imposing the sentence, the District Court discussed the factors it
considered relevant to the sentence. The District Court said that the defendant was “a
middle manager of a significant drug organization,” who had “two prior state convictions
for drugs and one federal conviction for drugs,” and that, after being deported, Rodriguez
had returned to the United States “almost immediately and resumed [his] participation in
the drug trade . . . [which] indicate[d] that [he is] a danger to the community.” Moreover,
the Court noted that although Rodriguez had been in the United States for many years, he
had never held a legitimate job and had used drug trafficking to support himself and his