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United States v. Rivera-Rodríquez

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
318 F.3d 268 (2003)


Facts

Colon was a drug smuggler who made millions of dollars smuggling cocaine into Puerto Rico. Colon attempted to launder his profits by purchasing speedboats and funneling cash through legitimate business, among other methods. Basilio Rivera Rodríquez (Rivera) and Oscar Trinidad Rodríquez (Trinidad) (defendants) were two of Colon’s associates who participated with Colon in his money-laundering schemes. Rivera participated with Colon in purchases of speedboats. In one example, Colon gave Rivera $100,000 that Rivera used to purchase bank checks that were in turn used to purchase a boat that was then held in Rivera’s name. In another instance, Rivera carried $200,000 in cash that he had received from Colon to Florida to purchase another boat. Trinidad participated with Colon in laundering money through Trinidad’s company, BVF Construction. Colon wrote checks for large amounts to BVF, for no apparent legitimate business purpose, and later BVF gave checks in similar amounts to Colon, drawn from BVF accounts. Colon was eventually convicted of drug-related crimes. After Colon’s conviction, Rivera and Trinidad, along with Colon’s wife, were charged with money laundering. Rivera and Trinidad were convicted and appealed, alleging that the prosecution had failed to prove the required knowledge element of the crime.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Boudin, C.J.)

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