U.S. v. Rosas-Fuentes, ROSAS-FUENTE

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Citation970 F.2d 1379
Docket NumberNo. 91-8414,ROSAS-FUENTE,D,91-8414
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Amado Rigobertoefendant-Appellant.
Decision Date19 August 1992

Page 1379

970 F.2d 1379
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Amado Rigoberto ROSAS-FUENTES, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 91-8414.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Aug. 19, 1992.

Page 1380

Ernest Mireles, Eagle Pass, Tex. (court-appointed), for defendant-appellant.

Michael McCrum, Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Alia Moses Ludlum, Asst. U.S. Attys., Ronald F. Ederer, U.S. Atty., San Antonio, Tex., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Before GOLDBERG, JONES and DeMOSS, Circuit Judges.

DeMOSS, Circuit Judge:

Appellant, Amado Rigoberto Rosas-Fuentes (Rosas) and his companion, Santiago Valdez (Valdez) were charged in a two-count indictment with (1) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 20 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846, and (2) possession with intent to distribute more than 20 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Valdez pleaded guilty. Following a bench trial, the court found Rosas guilty of both counts. The court sentenced Rosas to 33 months imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release on each to 33 months imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release on each count to be served concurrently. In this appeal, Rosas complains, among other things, that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. After thorough review of the record, we find that there is insufficient evidence to support Rosas' conviction and, therefore, do not reach Rosas' other contentions.


On October 17, 1990, Valdez and his passenger, Rosas, arrived at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Eagle Pass, Texas, in a pickup truck. Border Patrol Agent Ronald Marcell (Marcell) asked them whether they were United States citizens. Valdez responded that they had to go back to Eagle Pass because Rosas had forgotten his identification "card" and his wallet. Both Valdez and Rosas said that they were born in Eagle Pass. When asked about their destination, Rosas told Marcell that Valdez was giving him a ride to Carrizo Springs to meet someone who could tell him where in San Antonio he could find a certain car part. Valdez was then going to drop him off in San Antonio to purchase the part. At trial, Valdez admitted that he was travelling to Ft. Worth. Because both men appeared nervous and anxious to leave

Page 1381

the checkpoint, Marcell referred them to the secondary inspection area.

Border Patrol Agents Mendoza and Santini handled the secondary inspection. Mendoza asked for and received Valdez' consent to search the vehicle. The agent noticed a gap between the bed of the truck and the cab. In the space, the agent saw two gasoline tanks, one that was dirty and one that was clean. Agent Mendoza then tapped the tanks, and the extra tank did not make the usual hollow sound. Mendoza crawled under the truck and observed that the extra tank was inadequately secured with loose bolts that had tool marks on them, as if the tank had been recently removed and replaced. Agent Santini then used a piece of wire and ran it down the filler line of the tank. The wire met an obstruction about 12 inches down the line. Agent Marcell joined the search and loosened the filler line under the truck. He inserted his pen, which immediately met a solid obstruction. At that time, the agents were fairly certain that the tank contained some type of illegal contraband. During the search at secondary, Agent Santini testified that Rosas asked several times if they had found anything. Record Vol. 3 at p. 74.

Marcell testified that he arrested Rosas and Valdez and advised them of their Miranda rights while still at the checkpoint. Marcell then transported Rosas alone to the Border Patrol Station in El Paso. Marcell said that on the way to the Station, Rosas asked him in Spanish if they had found anything in the tank. Marcell responded in Spanish, " 'Well, you tell me.' " Rosas' response was, " 'Well, yes.' " Record Vol. 3, at p. 46. All of the agents testified that both men appeared nervous, that is, with their hands in their pockets, heads down, making no eye contact with the agents. Agent Mendoza testified that in the past he had seen Rosas go through this checkpoint, and his demeanor had been "pretty bold" in contrast to this day. Record Vol. 3, at p. 11.

At the Station, the agents removed the spare tank and saw that someone had cut open the upper part of the tank and closed it with duct tape. Inside the tank they found 24 packages of marijuana, weighing 21,321 grams or about 53 pounds.


The government argues that the defendant failed to renew his motion for acquittal at the close of all of the evidence, therefore, he waived his sufficiency review on appeal. The government contends that we should reverse only for plain error or "manifest miscarriage of justice." U.S. v. Ruiz, 860 F.2d 615, 617 (5th Cir.1988). This standard applies, however, only when the defendant fails to move for acquittal at the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 cases
  • U.S. v. Cardenas, 92-8660
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 9, 1993
    ...982 F.2d 156, 158-59 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 2934, 124 L.Ed.2d 684 (1993); United States v. Rosas-Fuentes, 970 F.2d 1379, 1381 (5th Cir.1992); United States v. Jennings, 726 F.2d 189, 190 (5th Cir.1984). Thus, this court should sustain Lawal's conviction if the di......
  • United States v. Haggerty, 20-50203
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 7, 2021
    ...court for a judgment of acquittal, and a motion to the same end is not necessary." Id. at 677 ; accord United States v. Rosas-Fuentes , 970 F.2d 1379, 1381 (5th Cir. 1992) ; United States v. Vargas , 673 F. App'x 393, 394 (5th Cir. 2016). The parties thus assert that Haggerty's sufficiency-......
  • U.S. v. Jones, s. 93-8022
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • January 4, 1995
    ...absent from the phone records which helped link Mr. Scott and Ms. Jones as co-conspirators. In United States v. Rosas-Fuentes, 970 F.2d 1379 (5th Cir.1992), the passenger asked the police officer whether anything had been found in the car's tank. The police officer responded, " 'Well you te......
  • State v. Himmerick, Cr. N
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 27, 1993
    ...for a judgment of acquittal to preserve the issue of sufficiency of the evidence for appeal. See, e.g., United States v. Rosas-Fuentes, 970 F.2d 1379, 1381 (5th Cir.1992) (the Fifth Circuit, like a majority of the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, does not require a motion in a bench trial,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT