United States v. Guzman-Ramirez, No. 19-1960 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
A supplier hired Guzman-Ramirez and Gonzalez to import cocaine into Wisconsin. Gonzalez was to haul the cocaine to Chicago. Guzman-Ramirez would help remove the cocaine from a hidden compartment and, with assistance, bring half of the cocaine to Milwaukee and store it at Guzman-Ramirez’s house or auto-body shop. The supplier asked another associate (a DEA informant) to assist. During the Chicago meeting, Guzman-Ramirez expressed familiarity with the amount of cocaine and how the secret compartment worked. Because of complications, Guzman-Ramirez returned to Milwaukee without the drugs. The next day, officers searched the semi-trailer and removed 50.12 kilograms of cocaine.
Guzman-Ramirez pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), 846. Gonzalez also pled guilty. A probation officer concluded that Guzman-Ramirez did not have an aggravating role in the conspiracy but that his role was significant. Guzman-Ramirez unsuccessfully sought a two-level reduction because he agreed only to transport and store the drugs and had no decision-making authority. Applying the safety-valve provisions (18 U.S.C. 3553(f)) resulted in a guidelines range of 87-108 months’ imprisonment; the court imposed a sentence of 72 months. A different judge sentenced Gonzalez to 48 months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the court should have applied a minor-role adjustment and that, compared to his coconspirator’s sentence, Guzman-Ramirez’s sentence was unreasonable. The court was not required to consider a sentence that had not yet been imposed.