940 F.2d 1128 (8th Cir. 1991), 90-5230, United States v. Nunn

Docket Nº:90-5230.
Citation:940 F.2d 1128
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Serena Denise NUNN, Appellant.
Case Date:July 23, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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940 F.2d 1128 (8th Cir. 1991)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Serena Denise NUNN, Appellant.

No. 90-5230.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 23, 1991

Submitted Feb. 13, 1991.

Page 1129

Barry V. Voss, Minneapolis, Minn., for appellant.

Jon M. Hopeman (Jerome G. Arnold, Jon M. Hopeman and Denise Reilly, on brief), Minneapolis, Minn., for appellee.

Before FAGG and BEAM, Circuit Judges, and HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge.

BEAM, Circuit Judge.

Serena Denise Nunn appeals from her convictions and sentences following a lengthy jury trial involving five other co-conspirators. Nunn was convicted of aiding and abetting the attempt to possess with intent to distribute twenty kilograms of cocaine on May 17, 1989, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Secs. 841(a)(1), 846 (1988) and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2 (1988) (count 2); of possession with intent to distribute 4 grams of cocaine base and 6.5 grams of cocaine on February 1, 1989, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1) (count 12); and of conspiracy from 1984 to May 18, 1989, to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 846 (1988) (count 32). Nunn was sentenced to three concurrent 188-month terms of imprisonment. On appeal, she argues that the district court improperly received into evidence a taped telephone conversation, that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions, and that the district court erred at sentencing in calculating her base offense level. We affirm.


Serena Nunn's convictions stem from her participation in a far-flung conspiracy to distribute drugs in the Twin Cities. The conspiracy, headed by Ralph "Plukey" Duke, involved a host of people, many of them related to Duke or to each other. At the time of her arrest, for instance, Serena Nunn was the girlfriend of Duke's son, Ralph Lamont Nunn (Monte Nunn). Serena's mother, Shirley Billingsley, was also arrested for her involvement in the conspiracy, as were Serena's sister, Charlita Nunn, her cousins, Ronald Nunn and James Eric Nunn, and her uncle, James Nunn.

The government infiltrated the conspiracy through a reverse-sting operation using the efforts of Andrew Chambers, an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration. After a series of meetings, Chambers arranged the sale of twenty kilograms of cocaine to Monte Nunn on May 17, 1989. Given her presence at several of the meetings between Monte Nunn and Chambers and evidence of her involvement in the conspiracy, Serena was convicted of aiding and abetting the attempt to complete this transaction (count 2).

Serena's further involvement in the conspiracy was varied. For instance, wiretaps on two phones at 426 24th Avenue North in Minneapolis, the house Monte Nunn shared with his mother Doris Admon, produced several conversations, which were played to the jury, revealing that Serena took and

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relayed messages concerning drug transactions, made calls to members of the conspiracy demanding payment for drugs, made deliveries, and counted the proceeds from drug sales. The fruits of two search warrants also implicated Serena in the conspiracy. Pursuant to the first, executed on February 1, 1989, at the house Serena shared with her mother at 1414 Queen Avenue North in Minneapolis, officers found, among other items, a cardboard box containing cocaine and two letters addressed to Serena. While she was not present during the execution of the warrant, Serena was convicted of possessing this cocaine (count 12).

Serena was present at the execution of a second warrant, for the house Monte Nunn shared with his mother. The executing officers found her and more than $18,000 in cash in Monte Nunn's bedroom; Serena denied knowing either Monte Nunn or about the money. Serena was also observed driving Doris Admon to the Minneapolis airport on April 6, 1989, where Admon boarded a flight to Los Angeles. There, Admon was stopped by airport agents who seized about $34,000 in cash from her person. Together, these instances form the basis for Serena's convictions.


A. Admission of the Tape Recording

Nunn objects to the district court's admission of Exhibit 246, a recording of a conversation she had on March 4, 1989, with Kevin Allen Walker, an unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator. Walker, a well-known, street-level drug dealer in St. Paul who bought cocaine from Plukey Duke, was arrested on November 2, 1988, in possession of forty-five ounces of cocaine. He eventually entered a plea of guilty to possessing this amount. His conversation with Serena Nunn--which she...

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