Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Evidence of Drug Trafficking in Arizona Was Admissible Against Defendant Charged With Conspiring to Distribute Drugs in Vermont “and Elsewhere.”

United States v. DeLaRosa, No. 12-4188-cr (2d Cir. Dec. 20, 2013) (Cabranes, Wesley, and Livingston) (summary order), available here

DeLaRosa was convicted of conspiring with John Brooker and others to distribute drugs in Vermont “and elsewhere” from 2006 to “on or about June 16, 2009.” On appeal, he argued principally that the district court erred by admitting evidence of drug trafficking in Arizona that took place after Brooker’s arrest on June 16, 2009.
The Circuit held that the evidence was properly admitted. The evidence was not offered to prove  prior bad acts under Fed. R. Evid. 404(b), but rather as direct evidence of the single drug-trafficking conspiracy orchestrated by DeLaRosa. Trial testimony showed that the conspiracy’s goal was to acquire narcotics from distributors in New York, Florida, and Arizona and to deliver the drugs to customers in Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. The conspiracy did not end just because operations began to shift away from Vermont following Brooker’s arrest. Accordingly, evidence of drug trafficking in Arizona after Brooker’s arrest was admissible.
Nor did the admission of the Arizona evidence improperly change the terms of the indictment. Since the indictment charged a conspiracy occurring in Vermont “and elsewhere,” from 2006 to “on or about June 16, 2009,” it encompassed evidence of drug trafficking in states other than Vermont after Brooker’s arrest.
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