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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Ramos
Citation:814 F. 3d 910 (8th Cir. 2016)
Defendant managed an iWireless store. On May 28, two Drug Enforcement Agents posed as customers and asked for potpourri, a codename for synthetic drugs. She provided the agents with two kinds of packets, one named Mr. Happy and the other Mr. Nice Guy. The agents selected Mr. Nice Guy in the flavor cotton-candy. While walking to the register, she asked the agents if they needed rolling papers. They declined and finished the purchase. The packet said “100% Cannabinoid Free/DEA Compliant” but testing showed that inside the packet was a Schedule I controlled substance. Several weeks later a confidential informant set up a meeting with the defendant to get Mr. Nice Guy. Defendant said she did not have that, but instead she had Blue, Mr. Happy, and Insane. Defendant met the informant at a gas station and sold the informant one packet of Mr. Happy and one jar of Blue. She did not charge tax. Blue was a Schedule I analogue controlled substance.
Not long after, officers executed a search warrant at the store. There Blue was found in a drawer near the register, packets of cannabinoids were found around the store including under the counter, in the back storage room, and the back office. They were not advertised anywhere. There was also smoking paraphernalia found in the store.
Officers then executed a search of the defendant’s home and car. There an unloaded handgun, four boxes of ammunition, and several containers of Blue were found along with more synthetic cannabinoids and Blue were found. Defendant was charged and convicted with distributing and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues. She was also tried and convicted of possessing a firearm for fathering her drug trafficking. At her sentencing, the trial judge needed to determine what best category this drug and drug analogue fit into to determine what sentencing schedule to use. Expert testimony was presented and the trial judge determine to sentence the defendant under the marijuana schedule, which made her sentence 60 months instead of 90-121 if it had been found to match the other schedule.
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