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United States v. Ledezma

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
26 F.3d 636 (1994)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Josephine Ledezma and Terry Zajac (defendant) for conspiracy to commit the crime of possessing with intent to distribute 1,600 kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 (count one), and for aiding and abetting the § 841(a)(1) offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 (count two). The federal district court trial evidence established that Ledezma, her brother Manny Castellano, and her cousin Ricardo Rios were all part of a family-run drug-trafficking business. Zajac joined the business only after it was up and running. Wiretap evidence proved Ledezma's involvement in the conspiracy. There were two significant items of evidence against Zajac. First, Zajac helped Castellano transfer 244 kilograms of cocaine from Rios's house to a safer location. Second, although Zajac played no role in planning or instigating the shipment of 351 kilograms of cocaine to Texas, Zajac complied with Castellano's direction to pay Robert Ferrell for completing the shipment's delivery. Zajac was unaware that federal authorities had already confiscated the shipment. The jury convicted Ledezma and Zajac on both counts. Zajac's conviction on count two was based solely on his connection with the 351-kilogram cocaine shipment. On appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Zajac argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ryan, J.)

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