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United States v. Grassi

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
616 F.2d 1295 (1980)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) indicted Dante Angelo Grassi (defendant) and six other individuals on several counts relating to a drug- and firearms-smuggling operation. Count 1 charged Grassi and the others with conspiring to distribute controlled substances and to possess, transfer, and transport unregistered firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The federal district court trial evidence established that undercover federal agents posing as narcotics and firearms smugglers met with Charles Watson in late April 1978. Watson agreed to help the agents import and distribute a forthcoming large shipment of marijuana, and to obtain guns and silencers for the agents to use in their narcotics trade. A week later, Watson introduced the agents to his associates. In mid-May, Watson introduced the agents to Grassi. Grassi expressed interest in the importation enterprise, and said he would work with the agents if their references checked out. From mid-May through late November, Watson and his associates met regularly with the agents to plan for importing the marijuana shipment, and to negotiate and consummate various drug and firearms sales. Grassi did not participate in these meetings, and met with the agents and one of Watson's associates only once more, on July 27. At that meeting, Grassi told the agents that if they imported the marijuana in their own plane, he would have someone protect the agents, and arrange a cocaine purchase. The discussion then turned to other matters. Grassi remained in the room, but took no part in that discussion. The jury convicted the defendants on all counts. Grassi appealed his Count 1 conviction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Morgan, J.)

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