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United States v. Contreras

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 4, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL CONTRERAS, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (DKT. NO. 102) AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT (DKT. NO. 91)

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On March 18, 2014, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin returned a sealed indictment charging defendant Daniel Contreras (among others) with one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances involving fifty grams or more of methamphetamine and 100 grams or more of heroin, and one count of distributing fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. Dkt. No. 1. The indictment remained under seal until the court unsealed it as to the defendant on March 2, 2016. Dkt. No. 14. On February 27, 2017, the defendant moved to dismiss the indictment. Dkt. No. 91. After briefing, Magistrate Judge David E. Jones issued a report, recommending that this court deny the motion without prejudice. Dkt. No. 102. The defendant objected to that recommendation. Dkt. No. 103. The court adopts the recommendation, overrules the objection, and denies the motion without prejudice.

         A. Factual Background

         The defendant's motion implicates three other indictments, all filed on January 7, 2015 in the Northern District of Illinois. See Dkt. Nos. 95-1; 95-3; 95-5.

         In Northern District of Illinois case number 14-CR-544, the indictment alleged in relevant part that (1) from February 2013 to April 2013, the defendant conspired with Hector Murillo to distribute cocaine (Count One); and (2) in March 2013, the defendant intentionally distributed cocaine with Hector Murillo (Counts Two & Four). Dkt. No. 95-1. The indictment alleged that these offenses took place “at Bellwood, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and elsewhere[.]” On November 18, 2015, the defendant pled guilty to Counts One, Two and Four. Dkt. No. 95-2 at 13.

         In Northern District of Illinois case number 15-CR-009, the indictment alleged that in April 2013, the defendant intentionally distributed cocaine in Bellwood, Illinois. Dkt. No. 95-3 at 2. The indictment listed Adan Baca and Armando Garcia as co-defendants. Id. at 1. The defendant pled guilty to this charge on November 18, 2015. Dkt. No. 95-4 at 10.

         In Northern District of Illinois case number 15-CR-010, the indictment charged the defendant with three counts of intentionally distributing cocaine (Counts One, Six and Seven). Dkt. No. 95-5. Count One alleged conduct occurring in Park Ridge, Illinois on March 22, 2013; Counts Six and Seven alleged conduct occurring in Bellwood, Illinois on April 25, 2013. Id. at 1, 6-7. The indictment charged four co-defendants-Roberto Cortez, Michael Aguirre, Eitel Mendoza and Joseph De La Vega. Id. at 1.

         The instant indictment (“Wisconsin indictment”) charges the defendant with one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and heroin (Count One) and one count of distributing methamphetamine (Count Five). Dkt. No. 1. Count One of the Wisconsin indictment alleges conduct which occurred “[b]eginning on or about January 1, 2012 and continuing until March 18, 2014, in the State and Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Northern District of Illinois, and elsewhere[.]” Dkt. No. 1 at 1. It charges Manuel Soto-Estrada, Roberto Rangel Garcia and Angel Garcia as co-conspirators. Id. Count Five of the Wisconsin indictment alleges conduct that took place on December 12, 2012 “in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Northern District of Illinois and elsewhere[.]” Dkt. No. 1 at 6. It charges Soto-Estrada and Rangel Garcia as co-defendants. Id.

         B. The Parties' Arguments

         Before the magistrate judge, the defendant argued that because the offenses charged in the Wisconsin indictment overlapped in time, place and conduct with the offenses charged in the Illinois indictments, the Wisconsin indictment violated the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. Dkt. No. 91 at 4. He alleged that the government broke one conspiracy into several, and charged him multiple times for the same scheme. Id. at 5. More specifically, the defendant contended that

all of [his] alleged acts involving Wisconsin could have been pled or encompassed in [the Northern District of Illinois] prosecution since there is no evidence that [the defendant] did any further acts involving Wisconsin after April, 2013 and the acts he is accused of all took place in the Northern District of Illinois.

Dkt. No. 91 at 5.

         The defendant also argued that he should have been given an opportunity to resolve the charges against him “on a global basis”: “[I]t is not due process of law to secure a conviction and a sentence and then inform the person that there are yet more previously filed cases out there to resolve.” Dkt. No. 91 at 6.

         The government responded that the indictments involved different crimes; the Illinois indictments involved distribution of cocaine while the Wisconsin indictment involved distribution of heroin and methamphetamine. Dkt. No. 95 at 3-4. The government also contended that in the Wisconsin indictment, drug quantity was an element of the offense that the government was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. at 4. The government asserted that “the evidence required to support a conviction in Illinois would not have been sufficient to warrant a conviction on the Wisconsin indictment.” Id. The government also maintained that there was no evidence that the conspiracy charged in the Wisconsin indictment relied on or involved the same evidence as any of the crimes charged in the Illinois indictments. Id ...


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