United States v. Vega

Court Case Details
Court Case Opinion

IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

United States Court of Appeals

Fifth Circuit

F I L E D

March 18, 2009

No. 08-50648

Summary Calendar

Charles R. Fulbruge III

Clerk

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Plaintiff-Appellee

v.

CHRISTOPHER VEGA

Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the United States District Court

for the Western District of Texas

USDC No. 3:08-CR-512-ALL

Before REAVLEY, WIENER, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.

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PER CURIAM:

Christopher Vega pleaded guilty to one count of importing 50 kilograms

or more of marijuana and one count of possessing with intent to distribute 50

kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841, 952, 960. The

district court sentenced Vega to two concurrent terms of 30 months of

imprisonment. Vega now appeals his sentence. He argues that the district court

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Pursuant to 5

C

.

R.

47.5, the court has determined that this opinion

TH

IR

should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited
circumstances set forth in 5

C

.

R.

47.5.4.

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No. 08-50648

erred by denying him a two-level adjustment pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2(b)

(2007) based upon his status as a minor participant in the offense.

Vega’s argument that he qualified for the minor participant adjustment

because he was a mere courier of drugs is unavailing. See United States v.

Edwards, 65 F.3d 430, 434 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. Pofahl, 990 F.2d

1456, 1485 (5th Cir. 1993). Rather, such a role is “an indispensable part” of drug

related offenses. See United States v. Buenrostro, 868 F.2d 135, 138 (5th Cir.

1989). The district court determined that Vega’s role was essential to the offense

and also observed that Vega provided law enforcement officials inconsistent

statements. The district court thus rejected Vega’s assertion regarding his

offense role in light of the totality of the circumstances presented by Vega’s case.

The district court’s determination concerning Vega’s role in the offense is

plausible in light of the record and thus is not clearly erroneous. See § 3B1.2

comment. (n.3(C)); United States v. Cisneros-Gutierrez, 517 F.3d 751, 764 (5th

Cir. 2008); United States v. Villanueva, 408 F.3d 193, 203-04 (5th Cir. 2005).

The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

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