United States v. Alverio-Melendez, No. 09-2269 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The defendants appealed convictions for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting in the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The First Circuit affirmed. There was sufficient evidence to support conviction; the government had "abundant" evidence of conspiracy in support of testimony by an informant. A conviction of possession in furtherance of trafficking does not require proof that a gun was present at the time of the drug sale. While the jury instruction incorrectly referred to "using or carrying" a firearm "during and in relation to," trafficking rather than "possession in furtherance of" trafficking, the error was not a basis for reversal. The court's guidance on the instruction did not constitute coaching. The prosecution's failure to provide a fingerprint report with respect to the gun did not amount to a Brady violation; no fingerprint analysis was conducted, so there was no possibly exculpatory evidence that could have been turned over.