United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BRACK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Oscar Garcia's
Motion to Withdraw his Plea of Guilty. (See Doc.
129.) Having reviewed the accompanying briefing and being
otherwise fully advised, the Court will deny the Motion.
is facing multiple charges related to the trafficking of
methamphetamine and money laundering. (See Docs. 3;
104.) On April 21, 2016, a grand jury returned an Indictment
against Defendant, charging: in Count 1, Conspiracy to
Possess with the Intent to Distribute 500 Grams and More of a
Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine, contrary to
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), in violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 846; in Count 7, Possession with Intent
to Distribute 500 Grams and More of a Mixture and Substance
Containing Methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A); in Count 8, Conspiracy
to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1956(h); and in Count 9, Money Laundering, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i). (Doc. 3.)
October 7, 2016, Defendant appeared before Honorable Stephan
Vidmar, United States Magistrate Judge, for change of plea
and pled guilty to a two count Information charging in Count
1, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams
and More of Methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A); and in Count 2, Money
Laundering Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1956(h). (Docs. 104; 132.) Judge Vidmar presented
Defendant's plea colloquy and accepted Defendant's
plea of guilty as to these counts, but deferred final
acceptance of the plea agreement to the District Judge. (Doc.
132 at 16.)
12, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to withdraw his plea of
guilty. (Doc. 129.) The Government filed its response
opposing the motion on July 26, 2017. (Doc. 133.)
to commencing the present case, the Government conducted a
three-month wiretap operation in cooperation with one of
defendant's alleged co-conspirators. (Doc. 133 at 9, 16.)
As a result of this investigation, the Government alleges
that evidence establishes the following facts concerning the
counts to which Defendant pled guilty:
Count One, the Government contends that from June 1, 2015,
until May 19, 2016, in Luna County in the District of New
Mexico and elsewhere, the defendant conspired with others to
distribute methamphetamine. (Doc. 132 at 14.) During that
timeframe, the defendant used a smuggled cell phone from his
prison cell in Oklahoma and arranged for the distribution of
approximately 4.5 kilograms of a mixture and substance
containing methamphetamine. (Id.) The
methamphetamine was in fact distributed to others in Deming,
New Mexico. (Id.)
Count Two, the Government contends that from February 8,
2016, until February 10, 2016, Defendant committed money
laundering. (Id.) Specifically they allege that
during that timeframe, Defendant made arrangements for
someone to travel from Arizona to Deming, New Mexico to pick
up drug proceeds and to deliver the drug proceeds to a
co-conspirator. (Id.) He knew that the drug proceeds
would travel across state lines and be paid to a drug
trafficking co-conspirator with the intent to promote the
carrying on of his illegal drug trafficking activities.
Legal Standard to Withdraw Plea Under Rule 11
of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure controls the
circumstances and standards under which a Defendant may
withdraw a plea of guilty. A significant factor in
determining the ease with which a plea may be withdrawn is
whether or not the plea has been accepted by the Court.
Before the District Court accepts the plea, a defendant may
withdraw a guilty plea for any reason or for no reason. Fed.
R. Crim. P. 11(d)(1). Under this standard, a District Court
is without discretion to deny a pre-acceptance withdrawal of
a plea. United States v. Arami, 536 F.3d 479, 483
(5th Cir. 2008); United States v. Jones, 472 F.3d
905, 908 (D.C. Cir. 2007).
contrast, once a felony guilty plea has been accepted, but
before sentence has been imposed, a defendant must provide a
“fair and just reason” for allowing them to
withdraw their plea. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(d)(2). Under this
standard, the Tenth Circuit has identified the following
factors to guide a court's decision on whether a fair and
just reason exists: (1) whether the defendant has asserted
his innocence, (2) prejudice to the government, (3) delay in
filing defendant's motion, (4) inconvenience to the
court, (5) defendant's assistance of counsel, (6) whether
the plea is knowing and voluntary, (7) waste of judicial
resources, and (8) the likelihood of conviction. See
United States v. Hamilton, 510 F.3d 1209, 1214 (10th
Cir. 2007); United States v. Carr, 80 F.3d 413, 421
n.5 (10th Cir. 1996). Of these factors, the most important
are those which speak to the reason for withdrawal,
including: whether the defendant asserted his innocence,
whether the defendant's guilty plea was knowing and
voluntary, and the assistance of his counsel.
Hamilton, 510 F.3d at 1217.
Analysis: Motion ...