United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON GOVERNMENT’S SANTIAGO PROFFER
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Government submitted a Santiago proffer (Dkt. No.
110), requesting that the Court make a preliminary
determination regarding the admissibility of certain
statements made by Geraldo Colon pursuant to United
States v. Santiago, 582 F.2d 1128 (7th Cir. 1978).
Stewart has not objected to the Government’s proffer.
The Court finds that if the Government produces the proffered
evidence at trial, it will have satisfied the requirements of
Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(E).
order to make this preliminary determination, “the
government must convince the court, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that (1) a conspiracy existed, (2) the defendant
and the declarant were members of the conspiracy, and (3) the
statement(s) sought to be admitted were made during and in
furtherance of the conspiracy.” United States v.
Alviar, 573 F.3d 526, 540 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing
Santiago, 582 F.2d at 1133-34); see also
Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(E). “Santiago proffers
are, by nature and necessity, argumentative and
summary.” United States v. Cox, 923 F.2d 519,
527 (7th Cir. 1991). If the Government meets its burden via
its proffer, the Court will conditionally admit the
co-conspirator statements. “If at the close of its case
the prosecution has not met its burden to show that the
statements are admissible, the defendant can move for a
mistrial or to have the statements stricken.”
United States v. Haynie, 179 F.3d 1048, 1050 (7th
case at bar, the Government seeks a conditional ruling from
this Court admitting statements of Colon. As explained more
fully below, the Court finds that the Government has shown by
a preponderance of the evidence that the conspiracy described
in its proffer existed; that Colon and Daniel Stewart were
members of the conspiracy; and that the statements expected
to be elicited at trial were made during and in furtherance
of the conspiracy.
The Existence of the Conspiracy and Stewart’s and
Colon’s Participation Therein
conspiracy consists of “two or more people [who] agreed
to commit an unlawful act.” United States v.
Barta, 776 F.3d 931, 939 (7th Cir. 2015) (quotation and
citation omitted). “Once a conspiracy is established,
only slight evidence is required to link a defendant to
it.” United States v. Shoffner, 826 F.2d 619,
627 (7th Cir. 1987). The Court has reviewed the evidence that
the Government proffered of the conspiracy and Colon and the
Defendant’s participation. See Dkt. No. 110 at
Seventh Circuit has noted, “in the murky world of
illicit drugs, conspiracies are, by necessity, loosely-knit
associations.” United States v. Sanchez, 251
F.3d 598, 601 (7th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). The court
provided further guidance as follows:
[A] conspiracy to distribute drugs can consist of an implicit
understanding between the parties, evidenced by
“transactions involving large quantities of drugs,
prolonged cooperation between the parties, standardized
dealings, and sales on a credit.” United States v.
Berry, 133 F.3d 1020, 1023 (7th Cir. 1998). While these
factors are instructive, no single factor is dispositive.
United States v. Pearson, 113 F.3d 758, 761 (7th
Id. at 602.
the Court finds that the Government has shown by a
preponderance of the evidence that a conspiracy existed. The
evidence proffered by the Government demonstrates
transactions involving large quantities of drugs - kilograms
of heroin and cocaine. See United States v. Brown,
726 F.3d 993, 1000 (7th Cir. 2013) (holding that “if a
person buys drugs in large quantities (too great for personal
consumption), on a frequent basis, on credit, then an
inference of conspiracy legitimately follows”).
Moreover, in his post-arrest statement to police, the
Defendant indicated that Colon had been his drug source for
approximately a year and a half, which demonstrates prolonged
the Government has shown by a preponderance of the evidence
that the Defendant and Colon were members of the conspiracy.
The evidence proffered by the Government, including the
post-arrest statement of the Defendant, is that Colon was the
Defendant’s supplier of large quantities of drugs. As
such, both were members of the conspiracy.
The Statements Were Made in Furtherance ...