Unpublished Disposition, 885 F.2d 875 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Antonio GONZALES-MENDES, Defendant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Aug. 15, 1989.* Sept. 8, 1989.
Before GOODWIN, PREGERSON and REINHARDT, Circuit Judges.
Antonio Gonzales-Mendes was found guilty of importing 270 pounds of marijuana into the United States and of possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 63 months in prison. He claims on appeal that the evidence does not demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
When an appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction our review is limited to determining whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence presented. United States v. Goode, 814 F.2d 1353, 1355 (9th Cir. 1987). We resolve any conflicts in the evidence in favor of the government. United States v. Tertou, 742 F.2d 538, 540 (9th Cir. 1984).
Here, there was both direct and circumstantial evidence which supports Gonzales-Mendes's conviction: testimony by his codefendant, Juan Javier Alvarez-Parra, that Alvarez-Parra had asked Gonzales-Mendes to help him carry marijuana into the country; Alvarez-Parra's testimony that he and Gonzales-Mendes made five trips carrying the contraband over the border, which contradicted Gonzales-Mendes's story that he had only come over the border to look for work; and the fact that Gonzales-Mendes was found by a border patrol agent asleep atop the 270 pounds of marijuana, which had a distinct odor that carried at least five feet away. A rational trier of fact could conclude from this evidence that Gonzales-Mendes knew he was importing marijuana.