United States v. Conley, No. 15-3442 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Conley was ensnared in a sting operation set up by the FBI and ATF, in which a government actor, pretending to be a criminal, presented him with an opportunity to be part of a robbery of an illegal (fictional) drug stash house containing 50 kilograms of cocaine and allegedly protected only by one unarmed and two armed guards. Conley was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of a controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1); attempt of the latter; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, 18 U.S.C. 924 (c)(1)(A); and being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that there was insufficient evidence to convict Conley beyond a reasonable doubt, and that testimony by a codefendant, who received a drastically reduced sentence for his testimony, was unreliable and should not have been credited for the purposes of establishing the elements of the offense. Because an ATF undercover agent recruited Myreon, the ringleader, who then recruited David, who recruited Adams, who recruited Conley, Conley was too many degrees of separation from the government agent to utilize an entrapment defense.