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Criminal Law Keyed to Weaver
United States v. Contento-Pachon
Citation:723 F.2d 691 (9th Cir. 1984)
The Defendant, Juan Manuel Content0-Pachon, was a native of Bogota, Colombia where he was employed as a taxi driver. The Defendant testified that one of his former passengers, a man named Jorge, offered him a job as a private driver. The Defendant was interested in the job and agreed to meet Jorge and the owner of the car the next day.
When they met, Jorge did not propose the driving job but instead proposed that the Defendant swallow balloons filled with cocaine and transport them to the United States. The Defendant agreed to consider the proposition and was told not to mention it to anyone or he would get in serious trouble. The Defendant testified that he did not go to the Bogota police as he believed they were corrupt and bribed by drug traffickers.
A week later, the Defendant refused Jorge’s proposition. Jorge responded by divulging intimate details about the Defendant’s life that the Defendant had never told him. Additionally, Jorge threatened the lives of the Defendant’s wife and child if he were unwilling to cooperate. The next day, the pair met again and Jorge once more threatened the Defendant, his wife, and his child’s lives. The pair met two more times and during the last time, the Defendant swallowed 129 balloons of cocaine. The Defendant was then told that if he failed to follow Jorge’s instructions he and his family would die.
After leaving Bogota, the Defendant’s plane landed in Panama. The Defendant asserted he did not alert the authorities there because be believed the police were just as corrupt there as they were in Colombia. Additionally, he felt as if doing so would put his family’s lives in jeopardy.
When he arrived at the customs inspection point in Los Angeles, the Defendant consented to having his stomach x-rayed. The x-rays showed a foreign substance that was later identified by authorities to be cocaine.
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