United States v. Contento-Pachon
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
723 F.2d 691 (1984)
Juan Manuel Contento-Pachon (defendant) was a taxi driver in Bogota, Colombia. One of his passengers (Jorge) offered to hire him as a private driver. Contento-Pachon agreed to meet him to discuss the details. Rather than discussing the job, Jorge asked Contento-Pachon to transport cocaine-filled balloons to the United States. When Contento-Pachon refused, Jorge recited details about Contento-Pachon’s private life that Contento-Pachon had never divulged to him. Jorge threatened Contento-Pachon that if he refused to cooperate, his wife and child would die. Contento-Pachon agreed to cooperate. About three weeks later, Contento-Pachon swallowed 120 balloons of cocaine and arranged to land first in Panama and then the United States. He was told that he would be watched at all times, and that his failure to follow directions would lead to the deaths of him and his family. Prior to the trip, Contento-Pachon did not go to the police because he feared they were corrupt. He did not go to police in Panama for the same reason, and because he feared for his family’s safety. Upon arriving in the United States, customs x-rayed Contento-Pachon’s stomach and found the cocaine. Contento-Pachon was charged with unlawful possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. Contento-Pachon attempted to submit the defenses of duress and necessity. The trial court excluded both.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Boochever, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Coyle, J.)
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