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United States v. Alvarez

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
755 F.2d 830 (1985)


Facts

In December 1982, undercover agents met Rolando Rios (defendant), Ramon Raymond (defendant), and Eduardo Portal (defendant) to discuss the purchase of two kilograms of cocaine for $147,000. The agents then met Portal and Victoriano Concepcion (defendant) at the Hurricane Motel, where they were introduced to Augustin Alvarez (defendant) and Oscar Hernandez (defendant), the motel owner. While the men awaited the delivery, Alvarez spoke with the agents, stating that he would rather be dead than return to prison. Upon Mario Simon’s (defendant) arrival with the cocaine, backup agents converged on the motel. A gunshot sounded and the officers found that one of the agents had been shot and killed. The United States government (plaintiff) charged Alvarez, Simon, Concepcion, Portal, Hernandez, Raymond, and Rios with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. The government also charged Portal, Concepcion, and Hernandez with second-degree murder of a federal agent, and a jury convicted them. Portal, Concepcion, and Hernandez appealed, contending that the murder convictions were based on an inappropriate expansion of liability under Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946), because the murder was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the drug conspiracy. The three defendants further argued that even if the murder was reasonably foreseeable, their roles in the drug conspiracy were minor; consequently, they contended they should not bear responsibility for the murder.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kravitch, J.)

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