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United States v. Sierra-Villegas

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 23, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSE SIERRA-VILLEGAS, Defendant-Appellant

Argued September 30, 2014.

Page 1094

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids. No. 1:12-cr-00208-1--Robert J. Jonker, District Judge.

ARGUED:

C. Ryan Grondzik, WARNER, NORCROSS & JUDD LLP, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Appellant.

John C. Bruha, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

C. Ryan Grondzik, Brian P. Lennon, WARNER, NORCROSS & JUDD LLP, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Appellant.

John C. Bruha, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Appellee.

Before: DAUGHTREY, ROGERS, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1095

ROGERS, Circuit Judge.

Jose Sierra-Villegas appeals his conviction and 325-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy. Sierra-Villegas was arrested shortly after the failure of a massive drug sale to an undercover officer that had been coordinated in part by a confidential informant. Sierra-Villegas allegedly played a leadership role in the attempted sale, coordinating the delivery of methamphetamine to his coconspirators and personally travelling from Kansas City, Missouri to Michigan to ensure the transaction would go forward. All of Sierra-Villegas's alleged coconspirators agreed to plea bargains, and three testified against Sierra-Villegas at trial. The prosecution's evidence allowed Sierra-Villegas to deduce the identity of the confidential informant, but the district court, citing the informant privilege, denied Sierra-Villegas's motion to compel the government to disclose the informant's name on the record and allow the informant to testify. Sierra-Villegas challenges his conviction on the grounds that this denied him the opportunity to present his defense effectively. Additionally, Sierra-Villegas challenges the evidentiary basis for applying sentencing enhancements for leadership, firearms possession, and obstruction of justice, and challenges his 325-month sentence as unreasonable. Because all of Sierra-Villegas's claims are without merit, his conviction and sentence must be upheld.

I.

In June 2012, a confidential informant (hereafter " the CI" ) contacted the Department of Homeland Security regarding a group of suspects selling large quantities of ...


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