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Criminal Law Keyed to Kennedy
United States of America v. Juan Manuel Contento-Pachon
Citation:723 F.2d 691 (9th Cir. 1984)
The defendant worked as a taxi driver in Colombia. One of his passengers, Jorge, offered him a job as the driver of a privately-owned car. He met with Jorge and the owner of the car the next day. However, instead of a driving job, Jorge proposed that the defendant swallow cocaine-filled balloons and transport them to the United States. The defendant agreed to consider it, and was warned that if he told anyone he would “get into serious trouble.”
One week later, the defendant told Jorge that he wouldn’t do it. Jorge then listed off personal facts about Jorge, and told him that his failure to cooperate would result in the death of his wife and child. The following day, the defendant and Jorge met again and the defendant’s life and the life of his family were threatened again. The defendant agreed to take the cocaine into the United States.
The defendant swallowed 129 balloons of cocaine. He was informed that he would be watched at all times, and if he failed to follow any instructions, he and his family would be killed. The defendant testified that he did not alert any police in Bogota and Panama because he felt as if they were corrupt, and that any such action on his prat would place his family in jeopardy. At a customs inspection point in Los Angela, the defendant consented to a stomach x-ray and was caught with the balloons.
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