898 F.2d 635 (8th Cir. 1990), 89-5035, United States v. Longbehn

Docket Nº:89-5035 to 89-5037.
Citation:898 F.2d 635
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. William Charles LONGBEHN, a/k/a William Charles Sisson, Otto William, William Otto, and Peg Leg, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Elizabeth LUNDSTROM, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Angela SISSON, Appellant.
Case Date:March 14, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 635

898 F.2d 635 (8th Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


William Charles LONGBEHN, a/k/a William Charles Sisson, Otto

William, William Otto, and Peg Leg, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Elizabeth LUNDSTROM, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Angela SISSON, Appellant.

Nos. 89-5035 to 89-5037.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 14, 1990

Submitted Nov. 15, 1989.

Page 636

Barry Voss, Paul Engh, and John R. Wilde, Jr., Minneapolis, for appellants.

Paul A. Murphy, Minneapolis, for appellee.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, ARNOLD, Circuit Judge, and LARSON, [*] Senior District Judge.

LARSON, Senior District Judge.

Defendants William Longbehn, Elizabeth Lundstrom, and Angela Sisson 1 appeal from the judgment and sentence of the district court. 2 Finding no error which justifies reversal, we affirm.


Longbehn, Lundstrom, and Sisson were indicted with several other individuals in a nineteen count indictment charging conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (count 1), distribution of methamphetamine by defendant Longbehn on eleven separate occasions (counts 2 through 13), 3 interstate travel by defendants Longbehn, Lundstrom, and Sisson to promote the distribution of methamphetamine (counts 14 through 17), and use of a facility in interstate commerce by defendants Longbehn

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and Lundstrom to promote the distribution of methamphetamine (count 19). 4

At trial, the government presented testimony from numerous witnesses, including two individuals who distributed methamphetamine for Longbehn from 1984 through 1986, at a profit for each of them of approximately $100,000. One of the individuals, Joseph Colucci, met Longbehn in 1982, while putting a roof on Longbehn's property. Longbehn gave Colucci user quantities of methamphetamine from that time until 1984. From 1984 to 1986, Colucci would buy a quarter pound of methamphetamine twice a month from Longbehn, which Colucci would then sell in smaller quantities.

Colucci testified he accompanied Longbehn on two trips to California, Longbehn's source for methamphetamine. Both Sisson and Lundstrom also traveled to California in connection with the first trip in October, 1984, and Colucci testified he saw Lundstrom and Longbehn together "breaking up" methamphetamine in a hotel room. Bobby Bryant, one of the other individuals who distributed methamphetamine for Longbehn, testified he first met Longbehn in a St. Paul bar shortly after the 1984 California trip. Bryant asked Longbehn if he could buy some methamphetamine, which Longbehn agreed to supply several days later. Thereafter, Bryant became a regular purchaser of increasing quantities of the drug--up to a pound per month from the summer of 1985 through 1986. 5

Rick Molenhouse, a co-conspirator who pled guilty prior to trial, testified he supplied Longbehn with methamphetamine beginning in 1985. Molenhouse met Longbehn and Sisson in Nevada in the winter of 1985 with a sample of methamphetamine, which Longbehn had requested Molenhouse bring from California. After Longbehn and Sisson used the sample, they told Molenhouse to get them a pound for $12,000. Molenhouse and his wife made other trips to Minnesota with methamphetamine for Longbehn. Molenhouse would arrive with the drugs and then wait for additional funds to go back to California to buy more methamphetamine.

In February, 1986, Molenhouse was arrested at the San Diego airport after he left Longbehn's residence in St. Paul. 6 Agents confiscated $35,000 in cash, which Molenhouse had obtained from Longbehn, as well as a small amount of marijuana. After obtaining a lawyer in California, Molenhouse flew back to Minnesota and met with Longbehn and Sisson to discuss the situation. In April, 1986, Sisson herself flew to California to meet with attorneys regarding Molenhouse's arrest.

Upon the advice of an attorney consulted by Sisson, Molenhouse's counsel declined to seek recovery of the $35,000, which resulted in prosecutors declining to press charges against Molenhouse for the marijuana possession. Several months later, Sisson moved from St. Paul to Tennessee. While in Tennessee, Sisson wrote a letter to an unindicted co-conspirator named "Cracko," which detailed Sisson's meetings with the lawyers and her concerns about police detection of drug activity. This letter was found at Longbehn's St. Paul residence.

After Sisson moved out of Longbehn's St. Paul residence, Lundstrom moved in. In September, 1986, she helped arrange Colucci's second California trip with Longbehn, making Colucci's plane reservation, driving him to the airport, and giving him money and instructions on meeting Longbehn.

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In California, Longbehn and Colucci met with co-defendant Michael Wheeler at Wheeler's motorcycle shop. Upon their arrival back in Minnesota, Colucci obtained a quarter pound of methamphetamine from Longbehn and Lundstrom delivered a basket with a pound of methamphetamine to Bobby Bryant.

On September 8, Lundstrom left Longbehn's St. Paul residence with a package containing $10,000 addressed to Michael Wheeler. She left it at the Post Office at 11:30 a.m. for express mail delivery to Wheeler. Agents, who were conducting surveillance of Longbehn's residence, asked that postal officials keep the package until they could obtain a dog to sniff it. The dog arrived at 1:00 p.m. and picked the package out of approximately 200 other pieces of mail. Agents then applied for a warrant to search the package, which was issued at 4:45 p.m. After agents removed the $10,000 they found inside various "inner envelopes," the package was resealed and delivered to Wheeler the next day.

When Wheeler opened the now-empty package, a series of phone calls between Wheeler and Longbehn ensued, which were recorded by agents and which implied the money was for the purchase of drugs. Agents obtained a search warrant for Longbehn's St. Paul residence...

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