United States v. Celaj, No. 10-2792-cr (2d Cir. August 22, 2011)(Miner, Cabranes, Straub, CJJ)
Din Celaj headed a crew that would rob – or try to rob – drug dealers. When successful, they would obtain drugs, which they would themselves sell, money and firearms.
He went to trial on several Hobbs Act robbery and associated 924(c) counts, was convicted, and received a 601-month sentence. On appeal, he made a sufficiency claim as to the jurisdictional element of the Hobbs Act counts where the goal was to steal marijuana. He did so despite entering into a stipulation at trial that “marijuana is grown outside of the state of New York and travels in interstate and foreign commerce to arrive in the New York City area.” The circuit affirmed.
The court began by surveying the area. In Parkes, see “Government Has No Evidence; Court Deems It Sufficient,” posted September 23, 2007, the …