United States v. Sanchez, No. 19-6034 (10th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
This case arose from an eighteen-month investigation into a conspiracy to distribute large volumes of methamphetamine in Oklahoma City. The investigation culminated in a 125-count indictment charging ten individuals, including defendant-appellant Jose Sanchez. A jury would convict him of ten offenses relating to a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. On appeal, Sanchez argued the Tenth Circuit should have reversed his conviction because of a fatal variance between the conspiracy charged and the evidence presented at trial. According to Sanchez, while he bought drugs from members of the conspiracy on occasion, the evidence did not show he participated in the overarching drug conspiracy. The Tenth Circuit concluded that even if Sanchez was correct that a variance occurred here, it was not fatal: the evidence did not impair the jury's ability to evaluate the narrower conspiracy to which Sanchez was a party. Further, the Court affirmed the district court's sentence because the alleged drug calculation error had no effect on the sentence imposed.