United States v. Calderon-Lozano, 011019 FED1, 17-1977

Docket Nº:17-1977
Opinion Judge:KATZMANN, JUDGE.
Party Name:UNITED STATES, Appellee, v. ALETSYS CALDERÓN-LOZANO, Defendant, Appellant.
Attorney:Davis Ramos Pagan, was on brief, for appellant. Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and B. Kathryn Debrason, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief, for appellee.
Judge Panel:Before Lynch and Lipez, Circuit Judges, and Katzmann Judge.
Case Date:January 10, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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UNITED STATES, Appellee,

v.

ALETSYS CALDERÓN-LOZANO, Defendant, Appellant.

No. 17-1977

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

January 10, 2019

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Francisco A. Besosa, U.S. District Judge]

Davis Ramos Pagan, was on brief, for appellant.

Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and B. Kathryn Debrason, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch and Lipez, Circuit Judges, and Katzmann, [*] Judge.

KATZMANN, JUDGE.

Aletsys Calderón-Lozano ("Calderón-Lozano") received a guideline sentence of 46 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). On appeal, Calderón-Lozano challenges the procedural and substantive reasonableness of his sentence. We affirm the district court's sentence.

Between February 25 and 26, 2016, Calderón-Lozano and an undercover Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI") agent arranged a meeting to deliver money. As agreed, Calderón-Lozano sent his associate (and co-defendant) to deliver $80, 000 to the agent. The $80, 000 was then deposited into a bank account and divided between two accounts in the amount of $52, 000 and $23, 080 respectively. On March 23, 2016, Calderón-Lozano arranged another money delivery with the undercover agent. This time, Calderón-Lozano himself delivered $100, 000. The money was again deposited and divided between two bank accounts, in the amount of $59, 951 and $34, 067 respectively. After his arrest, Calderón-Lozano told investigative agents that "his job in Puerto Rico is to collect money from drug sales and deliver it to people." When Calderón-Lozano entered a straight guilty plea to the conspiracy count, his lawyer stated that the defendant was not pleading guilty to the specific unlawful activity of drug importation. The district court, although noting that the defendant had admitted to his involvement in the drug trafficking deliveries to agents, indicated that it would decide the issue at sentencing.

The third and final amended presentence report ("PSR") provided an imprisonment range of 87 to 108 months under the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines ("Guidelines"). This calculation included a six-level enhancement for knowing or believing that the laundered funds were drug proceeds pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(1).

In his sentencing memorandum, Calderón-Lozano discussed his difficult childhood and current familial ties. He also requested a variant sentence, stating that "[a]lthough there is no cooperation agreement in this case, the Court should consider the information [he] provided to federal agents when he was arrested." Calderón-Lozano did not object to the PSR's six-level increase for knowing or believing that the laundered funds were drug proceeds pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(1).

At sentencing, Calderón-Lozano again argued for a variant sentence. Calderón-Lozano urged the district court to disregard his statements to HSI agents in assessing whether he knew that the money was from drug trafficking. Calderón-Lozano conceded that he told the agents that "his job in Puerto Rico is to collect money from drug sales and deliver it to people." He also conceded that he does not have a proffer letter, that the "government is legally and rightfully using" his "post-arrest...

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