537 F.2d 1051 (9th Cir. 1976), 75--3749, United States v. Gonzales-Benitez

Docket Nº:75--3749, 75--3718.
Citation:537 F.2d 1051
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Aida GONZALES-BENITEZ, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Ambrosio HERNANDEZ-CORONEL, Appellant.
Case Date:June 02, 1976
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1051

537 F.2d 1051 (9th Cir. 1976)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Aida GONZALES-BENITEZ, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Ambrosio HERNANDEZ-CORONEL, Appellant.

Nos. 75--3749, 75--3718.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 2, 1976

Page 1052

Bruce Rinaldi (argued), of Verity, Smith, Lacy, Allen & Kearns, Tucson, Ariz., for appellants.

Bruce R. Heurlin, Asst. U.S. Atty. (argued), Tucson, Ariz., for appellee.

OPINION

Before SNEED and KENNEDY, Circuit Judges, and CONTI, [*] District Judge.

KENNEDY, Circuit Judge:

Aida Gonzales-Benitez and Ambrosio Hernandez-Coronel were convicted for importing and distributing heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 960(a) (1), 841(a)(1). On appeal they argue that the trial court gave incorrect jury instructions on the defense of entrapment and that the court erred in various other respects. We consider these contentions below, after stating the facts. 1

Ana Maria Gutierrez, a paid informer who had worked on prior occasions with the Drug Enforcement Administration, initiated a series of telephone conversations with appellant Gonzales, who was staying in Culiacan, Mexico. Gonzales indicated the could obtain good quality heroin for the informant. Gonzales asked if Gutierrez would distribute the narcotic to reliable persons, and Gutierrez responded that her buyers could be trusted. In June Mrs. Gutierrez and her daughter traveled to Culiacan, where they spent all day with Gonzales and also met with appellant Hernandez. Together they discussed delivery and transportation of heroin in further detail. Gonzales offered to sell 16 ounces to Gutierrez and allow Hernandez to travel to the border

Page 1053

with Gutierrez for protection, but the informer refused to make a purchase at that time.

There followed other telephone conversations and another meeting in which Mrs. Gutierrez introduced Gonzales to a purported buyer, Hector Berrellez. Berrellez was an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Thereafter a sale was arranged. It was agreed that Berrellez would take delivery of the drugs within the United States. On the day of the border crossing Mrs. Gutierrez and her daughter met with Gonzales and Hernandez in a hotel room in Nogales, Mexico. Appellants produced 13 ounces of heroin and Hernandez stated he would bring two additional kilograms of heroin the next day. He demonstrated certain belts with pouches which he used to transport heroin on his person.

The heroin was then secreted in Mrs. Gutierrez' purse. Gonzales left and walked across the border by herself, while the other three drove through the border checkpoint with the heroin. The crossing was accomplished in Mrs. Gutierrez' car. Hernandez was in the front seat. He had removed the heroin from the purse and placed it in a grocery bag which he held on his lap. He placed cheese in the bag to mask any heroin smell.

The three met Gonzales on the Arizona side and together they drove to the motel to meet Berrellez, the ostensible buyer. After Berrellez took possession of the heroin, a signal was given and appellants were arrested.

Voir Dire Questions

On voir dire examination, the court asked prospective jury members if they...

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