176 F.3d 52 (2nd Cir. 1999), 96-1803, United States v. Diaz

Docket Nº:96-1803, 97-1661.
Citation:176 F.3d 52
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Jose DIAZ, also known as Jolly; Jesse Rodriguez, also known as J-1, also known as Jesse M. Rodriguez; Jose Rodriguez, also known as Baby Latin, also known as Rambo; Julio Vasquez; Jose Melendez, also known as Little; Dennis Millet, also known as Denise Mikan; Carlos M. Rodriguez, also known as Jesus; Edgardo O
Case Date:May 04, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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176 F.3d 52 (2nd Cir. 1999)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Jose DIAZ, also known as Jolly; Jesse Rodriguez, also known

as J-1, also known as Jesse M. Rodriguez; Jose Rodriguez,

also known as Baby Latin, also known as Rambo; Julio

Vasquez; Jose Melendez, also known as Little; Dennis

Millet, also known as Denise Mikan; Carlos M. Rodriguez,

also known as Jesus; Edgardo Ortiz, also known as Eddie,

also known as Mad Dog, also known as Cougar; Gregg Cyr,

Jr.; Richard Soto, also known as Blizz; Isolina DeJesus;

Luis Rodriguez; Sara Lee Medina; Ishmael Cancel, also

known as Cano; Eliesel Llorens, also known as Alex, also

known as Junior; Jose A. Lugo; Antonio Martinez, also

known as Jibaro; Marcus Lnu; Christopher Barnes; Beatrice

Codianni, also known as Beatrice Robles, also known as

Beatrice Ferraro, Defendants,

Nelson Luis Millet; Manuel E. Roman, also known as Manny,

also known as Pito; Richard Morales, also known as Richie,

also known as Orco; Hector Luis Rios, also known as Crazy

Louie; Maria Vidro, also known as China; Johnny Zapata;

Robert Burgos, also known as Rob Dog; Francisco Soto, also

known as Frankie; Antonio Rivera, Jr., also known as Broken

Back Tony *; Alexis

Antuna, also known as Alex; Luis Noel Cruz, also known as

Noel; Edgar Rodriguez, also known as Eggy; Edward

Calderon, also known as Choco; Gilberto Rivera, also known

as Junco, Defendants-Appellants.

Docket Nos. 96-1011(L), 96-1025, 96-1051, 96-1055, 96-1073,

96-1085, 96-1086, 96-1087, 96-1088, 96-1089,

96-1297 [*], 96-1495, 96-1633,

96-1803, 97-1661.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 4, 1999

Argued Sept. 28, 1998.

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Joseph W. Martini, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Pepe & Hazard LLP, Southport, CT, and Theodore B. Heinrich, Assistant United States Attorney, District of Massachusetts, Boston, MA (John H. Durham, Deputy United States Attorney, District of Connecticut, New Haven, CT, on the brief, Stephen C. Robinson, United States Attorney, District of Connecticut, New Haven, CT, Stephen V. Manning, Assistant United States Attorney,

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District of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, both on a letter brief), for Appellee.

Jeremiah Donovan, Old Saybrook, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Nelson Luis Millet.

William T. Koch, Jr., Lyme, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Manuel E. Roman.

James J. Ruane, Gaston & Ruane, Bridgeport, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Richard Morales.

Bruce D. Koffsky, Stamford, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Hector Luis Rios.

Gerald E. Bodell, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellant Maria Vidro.

Erskine D. McIntosh, The Law Offices of Erskine D. McIntosh, P.C., New Haven, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Johnny Zapata.

Aaron P. Buda, Schad, Buda, Lucia & Cook, Cincinnati, OH (Kevin M. Schad, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant Robert Burgos.

David E. Liebman, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellant Francisco Soto.

John M. Andreini, Dubay & Andreini, Hartford, CT, on the brief, for Defendant-Appellant Antonio Rivera, Jr. (Appeal has been withdrawn).

Colleen P. Cassidy, The Legal Aid Society, Federal Defender Division, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellant Luis Noel Cruz.

Howard R. Birnbach, Great Neck, N.Y. (Joseph J. Colarusso, Colarusso & Napolitano, Stamford, CT, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant Edgar Rodriguez.

Eileen McGann, Law Office of Eileen McGann, Esq., West Redding, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Edward Calderon.

Earle Giovanniello, Gorman & Enright, P.C., New Haven, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Gilberto Rivera.

John T. Walkley, Trumbull, CT, for Defendant-Appellant Alexis Antuna.

Before: CALABRESI, STRAUB, Circuit Judges, and TSOUCALAS, Judge. [**]

TSOUCALAS, Judge:

Defendants-appellants Nelson Luis Millet, Manuel E. Roman, Richard Morales, Hector Luis Rios, Maria Vidro, Johnny Zapata, Robert Burgos, Francisco Soto ("F.Soto"), Alexis Antuna, Luis Noel Cruz, Edgar Rodriguez ("E.Rodriguez"), Edward Calderon and Gilberto Rivera ("G.Rivera"), appeal from judgments entered, following jury trials or plea agreements, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Alan H. Nevas, Judge ), convicting and sentencing them for crimes in connection with their participation in a racketeering enterprise engaged in the distribution of narcotics.

Nine defendants-appellants, excluding Burgos, Calderon, G. Rivera and E. Rodriguez, were convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) (1988), for conducting the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, and under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (1988) for racketeering conspiracy. Most defendants-appellants were convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)-(3), (5), (6) (1988) for aiding and abetting, conspiring to commit or committing murders or other violent crimes in aid of racketeering ("VICAR"): Antuna (three counts), Burgos (one count), Cruz (three counts), Morales (eight counts), Rios (one count), Roman (four counts), F. Soto (four counts), Vidro (six counts) and Zapata (six counts). All defendants-appellants except for Burgos were convicted under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846 (1988) for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, marijuana, cocaine and

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cocaine base, and Morales was convicted under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A) (1988) for one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of cocaine base. In addition, Burgos was convicted under 21 U.S.C. § 843(b) (1988) for one count of using a telephone in facilitating a drug transaction, Calderon was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 922(n) (1988) for one count of receiving a firearm while under a felony indictment, and Roman was convicted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2) (1988) for one count of firearm possession by a felon.

The district court sentenced defendants-appellants to the following terms of imprisonment: Millet to one life term, plus two 20-year terms to be served concurrently with his life term, all to be served consecutively to a sentence imposed by the State of Connecticut; Roman to three life terms, plus five 10-year terms to be served concurrently with his life terms; Morales to six life terms, plus four 10-year terms and two 3-year terms, all to be served concurrently with his life terms; Rios to three life terms, plus one 20-year term to be served concurrently with his life terms; Vidro to seven life terms, plus two 10-year terms to be served concurrently with her life terms; Zapata to seven life terms, plus two 10-year terms to be served concurrently with his life terms; Burgos to one 20-year term, plus one 4-year term to be served consecutively to his 20-year term, and both to be served consecutively to a sentence imposed by the State of Connecticut and to be followed by a 3-year period of supervisory release; F. Soto to two 35-year terms, plus four 20-year terms and one 10-year term, all to be served concurrently with his two 35-year terms, to be followed by several periods of supervisory release totaling five years; Antuna to four life terms, plus one 10-year term and one 20-year term, both to be served concurrently with his life terms; Cruz to four life terms, plus one 10-year term and one 20-year term, both to be served concurrently with his life terms; E. Rodriguez to one 30-year term to be followed by a 5-year period of supervisory release; Calderon to one 78-month term, plus one 20-month term to run consecutively to his 78-month term, to be followed by two periods of supervisory release totaling five years; and G. Rivera to one 292-month term to be followed by a 5-year period of supervisory release. The district court imposed on each defendant-appellant a $50 special assessment for each count of conviction as required under 18 U.S.C. § 3013(a)(2)(A) (1988). 1

The claims on appeal are fully outlined in the discussion that follows. For the reasons set forth therein, we affirm the judgments of the district court.

BACKGROUND

The present appeals arise out of the prosecution of the thirteen defendants-appellants and others for their participation in the activities of a street gang known as the "Latin Kings," whose primary business was the distribution of narcotics by means of a racketeering enterprise conducted through a campaign of violent enforcement and retribution. At their respective trials, the government presented voluminous evidence that included, inter alia, testimony of cooperating Latin King members and officers, testimony of law enforcement officers, firearms and drugs recovered from search warrant seizures and undercover purchases, tape recorded calls between imprisoned Latin King leader Millet and Latin King officers in Connecticut, a tape recorded call between Rios and another

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imprisoned Latin King officer, wiretapped conversations between Latin King members and officers in Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut, and...

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