United States v. Gonzalez, No. 13-1832 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
In November 2010, law enforcement intercepted six railcars that crossed from Mexico into the U.S. and discovered that the railcars contained large amounts of marijuana, which had been packed into bricks. The marijuana bricks were encased in colored clay shells and hidden inside bags called “super sacks.” The officials followed the railcars to their final destination, a warehouse in Chicago Heights, and conducted surveillance of the warehouse to identify the intended recipients. A jury found Gonzalez, who assisted in unloading the cargo, guilty of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kg or more of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846, but acquitted him of possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kg of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). The court subsequently entered a judgment of acquittal on the conspiracy charge. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded. The evidence was sufficient for a jury to reasonably conclude that Gonzalez knew, or at least strongly suspected that the super sacks contained illegal drugs and yet continued to participate in the operation.