United States v. Escobar, No. 17-1014 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Escobar, Jackson, and Cruz were convicted of federal crimes related to a methamphetamine distribution operation; Rojas-Andrade and Garcia pleaded guilty. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the convictions and their sentences of 137 to 330 months. Evidence seized during a search made pursuant to an anticipatory search warrant was admissible under the good-faith exception, as the totality of the circumstances showed the officers' reliance on the warrant was objectively reasonable. There was no error in the denial of a motion to suppress wiretap evidence; the wiretap affidavit established that normal investigative techniques had not been successful in exposing the full extent of the drug conspiracy. The district court properly admitted recorded out-of-court statements of co-conspirators and properly imposed a two-level enhancement against Escobar for possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with a drug offense under U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(1). Rojas-Andrade's motion to withdraw his guilty plea was properly denied; a misunderstanding of how the guidelines would apply is not a fair and just reason to withdraw a plea. There was no error in denying Jackson's motion to sever conspiracy and possession counts and no error in admitting evidence of Jackson's prior drug convictions as they were not too remote in time and were relevant under Rule 404(b). Garcia did not object to the drug quantity calculation in his PSR or at his sentencing and cannot challenge the quantity on appeal..