US v. Wilbert Sampson, No. 12-4361 (4th Cir. 2013)

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 12-4361 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. WILBERT SAMPSON, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Richard D. Bennett, District Judge. (1:10-cr-00775-RDB-7) Submitted: February 27, 2013 Decided: March 14, 2013 Before KING, GREGORY, and THACKER, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Allen H. Orenberg, THE ORENBERG LAW FIRM, P.C., North Bethesda, Maryland, for Appellant. Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Ayn B. Ducao, Assistant United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Wilbert Sampson was convicted by a jury of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. ยงยง 841, 846 (2006). He appeals, sufficient contending evidence that his of support his conviction. the Government involvement did in a not present conspiracy to Finding no error, we affirm. This Court reviews de novo the district court s denial of a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal. Green, 599 F.3d 360, 367 (4th Cir. 2010). the sufficiency of the evidence determining whether, in Government, there substantial support evidence the is the conviction. that a most evidence Id. reasonable This Court reviews supporting light United States v. a favorable in the Substantial finder of conviction fact to by the record to evidence is could accept as adequate and sufficient to support a conclusion of a defendant s guilt beyond a marks omitted). appropriate only reasonable doubt. Id. (internal quotation Reversal on grounds of insufficient evidence is in cases where the Government s failure to present substantial evidence is clear. To obtain a drug conspiracy conviction, the Government must prove the following elements: (1) an agreement between two or more people to possess drugs with intent to distribute, (2) defendant s knowledge of the conspiracy, and (3) defendant s 2 knowing and voluntary participation in the conspiracy. United States v. Burgos, 94 F.3d 849, 857 (4th Cir. 1996). A drug conspiracy may be proved entirely by circumstantial evidence. Id. at 858. that the Moreover, the Government is not required to prove defendant members. knew all of Green, 599 F.3d at 367. the conspiracy s details or A drug conspiracy conviction requires only a slight connection between a defendant and the conspiracy. Id. While Sampson does not contest the existence of a conspiracy, he contends that the Government failed to present sufficient evidence of his participation in it because its only evidence was various wiretapped phone conversations between him and a known conspirator, which were not explicitly drug-related. Sampson also including argues several of that various Sampson s Government alleged witnesses co-conspirators had little or no knowledge of him, that he was never the subject of a search warrant, and that no drugs were ever found in his possession. calls and The Government contends that the wiretapped phone their content constitute substantial evidence of Sampson s knowing participation in a conspiracy, and therefore that sufficient evidence supports Sampson s conviction. We conclude that the Government s evidence was sufficient to permit the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Sampson was a knowing member of a conspiracy. 3 The phone conversations attributed to Sampson, while not explicitly drugrelated, The unmistakably conversations suggest consisted drug of trafficking suspicious transactions. language, including code words such as demonstration, food caps, and 7s and 8s, which a government agent testified indicated a gun, heroin packaging material, and the quality of heroin on a scale of one to ten. Moreover, the wiretapped calls were placed from a phone found in Sampson s possession, and made to a line belonging to a known member drug-related present of the conspiracy communications. evidence that that he While all of its used the exclusively Government witnesses knew did for and not could identify Sampson, or that Sampson was the subject of a search warrant or was ever caught possessing heroin, it required to do so, in light of its other evidence. was not See Green, 599 F.3d at 367. From that evidence, a jury could reasonably find knowingly that Sampson participated in a conspiracy distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. to See id. Accordingly, dispense with contentions are oral we affirm argument adequately Sampson s because presented in the the conviction. facts We and legal materials before this Court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 4