Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Maldonado

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LUCAS JAMES MALDONADO, Defendant.

          James S. Tierney Acting United States Attorney Presiliano Torrez Lynn Wei-Yu Wang Assistant United States Attorneys United States Attorney's Office Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for the Plaintiff

          Alonzo J. Padilla Federal Public Defender Federal Public Defender's Office Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney for the Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant's Objections to the Presentence Report, filed July 25, 2017 (Doc. 60)(“Objections”). The primary issues are: (i) whether the Court should apply a 2-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(3)(B), because Defendant Lucas Maldonado's offense involved a destructive device; (ii) whether the Court should apply a 4-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B), because Maldonado used or possessed a firearm in connection with another felony offense; and (iii) whether the Court should apply a 2-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.2, because Maldonado recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person while fleeing law enforcement.[1] The Court concludes that enhancements are warranted under U.S.S.G.§ 2K2.1(b)(3)(B), § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B), and § 3C1.2, so the Court overrules Maldonado's Objections.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Objections involve two incidents Maldonado had with state law-enforcement agents -- separate from the offense of conviction -- in which the state either released Maldonado or he evaded arrest. See Presentence Investigation Report ¶¶ 11-15, at 5-6, filed April 7, 2017 (Doc. 54)(“PSR”). The first incident occurred on February 8, 2013, and involved Maldonado refusing to comply with a traffic stop. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. While Maldonado was traveling at a high rate of speed, a New Mexico police officer signaled Maldonado to pull over. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. Instead of complying, Maldonado zipped away from the officer at over 100 miles per hour. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. Maldonado eventually lost control of the car, and jumped from the moving vehicle. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. He sprinted from the scene with a black backpack and dropped a magazine loaded with .45 caliber ammunition as he ran. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. He then hurdled a wall. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. Maldonado escaped arrest. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. A .45 caliber handgun was later recovered near the wall Maldonado vaulted. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. A second magazine with nine rounds of 9mm ammunition was located in the front seat of the car. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5. Maldonado's charge for this offense remains pending. See PSR ¶ 11, at 5.

         The second incident happened on January 31, 2014, and concerned a stolen car, more firearms, and methamphetamine. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5. An Albuquerque police officer, conducting a random parking lot patrol, found Maldonado entering a stolen vehicle with his eight-year-old son, who was wearing a backpack. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5. The officer searched the backpack and discovered two unloaded AK-47 magazines, a loaded .233 caliber machine pistol, and a cache of more ammunition of varying calibers. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5. A search of Maldonado yielded forty grams of methamphetamine. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5. Maldonado was arrested, but his case was subsequently dismissed. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5. The charges, however, were later refiled, and that case remains pending. See PSR ¶ 12, at 5.

         Maldonado was involved in two other relevant incidents, one in February, 2014, and the other in June, 2015.[2] See Superseding Indictment at 1-3, filed July 30, 2015 (Doc. 11)(“Indictment”).[3] In February, 2014, Bernalillo County detectives observed Maldonado visiting the residence of a known methamphetamine dealer and stopped Maldonado in his vehicle after he left the home. See PSR ¶ 13, at 5. A pat-down search yielded an empty gun holster on Maldonado's belt. See PSR ¶ 13, at 5. The detectives later uncovered a loaded Ruger model P345 .45 caliber pistol on the car's passenger side floorboard. See PSR ¶ 15, at 6. The pistol fit Maldonado's holster. See PSR ¶ 22, at 8. A records check revealed that Maldonado was a convicted felon. See PSR ¶ 15, at 6. Maldonado was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and subsequently released on bond. See PSR ¶ 15, at 6.

         In 2015, the Bernalillo County Sherriff's Department (“BCSO”) learned that Maldonado was living in, and distributing methamphetamine, from an apartment in southwest Albuquerque. See PSR ¶ 16, at 6. On June 10, 2015, BCSO detectives spotted Maldonado leaving that apartment with a woman, Lorraine Duran, and observed Maldonado placing items into a black Honda Accord. See PSR ¶ 16, at 4; Plea Agreement at 4, filed February 9, 2017 (Doc. 51)(“Plea”).[4] Detectives subsequently approached and arrested Maldonado. See PSR ¶ 16, at 4. When the detectives looked in the vehicle, they saw a black semiautomatic handgun on the vehicle's center console. See PSR ¶ 17, at 6; Plea at 4. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm agents subsequently appeared at the scene and also observed the gun in the car. See PSR ¶ 17, at 6.

         After obtaining a search warrant, ATF agents recovered the gun and also discovered a firearm magazine in a backpack found in the car's backseat. See PSR ¶ 19, at 7; Plea at 4. The handgun was a loaded Smith & Wesson model SW40VE .40 caliber pistol and it had one round in the chamber. See PSR ¶ 19, at 7; Plea at 4. The firearm magazine was loaded with twelve rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, and it fit the .40 caliber pistol. See PSR ¶ 19, at 7; Plea at 4. An ATF agent later tested the gun, and it functioned as designed. See PSR ¶ 20, at 7; Plea at 4.

         There was also a briefcase and body armor in the black Honda Accord. See PSR ¶ 17, at 6. The briefcase had a small baggie containing a material suspected to be heroin, [5] a glass pipe, and syringes. See PSR ¶ 19, at 7. The body armor was labelled with the Defendant's alias --“Ruckus.” See PSR ¶ 19, at 7.

         The agents also searched Maldonado's apartment. See PSR ¶ 18, at 6-7. In plain view was a modified “sawed off” shotgun. PSR ¶ 18, at 6.[6] Agents later determined that the shotgun was a Savage Arms model 311A 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun with a barrel length of eighteen inches, an overall length of twenty-eight inches, and a bore diameter of .73 inches. See PSR ¶¶ 18-20, at 7. Agents also recovered two rounds of 12-gauge ammunition from the apartment. See PSR ¶ 18, at 7.

         ANALYSIS

         The Court overrules Maldonado's Objections that are not moot. The Court concludes that it should apply a 2-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(3)(B), because a shotgun with a bore diameter of .73 inches is a destructive device. A 4-level enhancement for possessing a firearm in connection with another felony offense under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) is appropriate, because the January, 2014 offense was highly similar to the offense of conviction, and similar offenses were repeated over time. Finally, the Court applies a 2-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.2, because Maldonado recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person by fleeing from law enforcement in a car at over 100 miles per hour. That offense was also highly similar to the offense of conviction.

         I. THE COURT OVERRULES MALDONADO'S OBJECTION TO A 2-LEVEL ENHANCEMENT UNDER ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.