United States v. Aragon, No. 18-1121 (10th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Leonard Aragon was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. He appealed, arguing the district court erred in finding that two packages found in his car contained 28.5 grams of methamphetamine and 11 grams of heroin, respectively. He also contended “the judge abused his discretion by sua sponte presenting his own evidence in support of a higher sentence.” The Tenth Circuit found that although the suspected heroin appeared to be wrapped in light packaging, the same could not be said for the suspected methamphetamine. “Even adding all 11.5 grams of heroin to the amounts from the controlled buys would require more than 7 grams of methamphetamine to make Mr. Aragon’s offense level 24 as the district court found.” The Tenth Circuit found nothing in the record to suggest the trial judge would be unable or unwilling to set aside the additional drugs in accordance with its conclusion that their net weights were not proven by a preponderance of the evidence, therefore the Court declined to reassign the case on remand. The sentence was vacated and the matter remanded for further development.