United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Government's objection
to the Presentence Report (“PSR”), as submitted
to the Court in the Addendum to the PSR [ECF No. 136]. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court SUSTAINS the
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
approximately November 2017 through August 2018 a heroin drug
trafficking operation (“DTO”) was operating out
of an apartment building at 4104 Madison Street in Gary,
Indiana. PSR ¶¶ 8, 10, 24-27, ECF No. 135. The DTO
was comprised of Defendant Coleman and his four
co-defendants: Lamont Coleman, Katrina Owens, Tony Petty, and
Augustine Pike. Id. ¶¶ 8-10. The PSR
indicates that Co-Defendant Coleman owned the apartment
building and was the leader of the DTO. Id. The PSR
also details that Co-Defendant Owens maintained a leadership
position in the DTO, while the Defendant and remaining
co-defendants were only minor participants, operating as
“runners” at the direction of the DTO's
leaders. Id. Additionally, each of the co-defendants
lived in the apartment building. Id. ¶¶ 9,
DTO's organization and business methodology was
relatively simple. Co-Defendants Coleman and Owens would take
calls from customers and dispatch a runner to deliver heroin
and collect payment. Id. ¶¶ 8-10. On
twelve occasions confidential informants went through this
process to purchase heroin. Id. ¶¶ 11-22.
The Defendant was involved in three such exchanges:
Specifically, on November 6, 2017, November 16, 2017, and
November 27, 2017, when the Defendant exchanged,
respectively, 1.140 grams, 1.170 grams, and .976 grams of
heroin for money. Id. ¶¶ 11-13.
Co-Defendants Perry and Pike served as runners for the
remainder of the observed exchanges. Id.
¶¶ 14-22. The last exchange involving a
confidential informant took place on August 14, 2018.
Id. ¶ 22.
August 16, 2018, a nine-count Indictment [ECF No. 1] was
filed and an arrest warrant was issued for the Defendant [ECF
No. 4]. On August 28, 2018, law enforcement executed a search
warrant at 4104 Madison Street, Apartment 1, Gary, Indiana.
PSR ¶ 24. Co-Defendants Coleman and Owens were in the
apartment at the time of the search. Id. Law
enforcement recovered approximately 11.500 net grams of
heroin, 3.451 net grams of cocaine base, and 12.500 gross
grams of clonazepam pills. Id. ¶ 25.
Additionally, $21, 392 and two firearms were recovered during
the search. Id. On the day of the search each of the
five defendants were arrested. Id. After their
arrest, Co-Defendants Petty and Pike confirmed the operations
described above. Id. ¶ 26.
Defendant's Initial Appearance [ECF No. 10] occurred on
August 28, 2018. On September 20, 2018, a Superseding
Indictment [ECF No. 37] was filed with the Court. A Second
Superseding Indictment [ECF No. 93] was then filed on July
17, 2019. The Defendant was arraigned [ECF No. 102] under the
Second Superseding Indictment on July 26, 2019. On August 6,
2019, the Defendant pled guilty [ECF No. 112] to Count 1 of
the Second Superseding Indictment pursuant to the Plea
Agreement [ECF No. 106], which was filed with the Court on
July 30, 2019. Count 1 charged the Defendant with
participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a
detectable amount of heroin, a Schedule I controlled
substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. On September
4, 2019, the Court adjudged the Defendant guilty to Count 1
of the Second Superseding Indictment. [ECF No. 119].
October 18, 2019, the Draft PSR [ECF No. 126] was filed. On
October 23, 2019, the Government filed an objection to the
Draft PSR [ECF No. 128]. The Final PSR and the Addendum to
the PSR [ECF Nos. 135, 136] were then filed on November 6,
2019. The Addendum to the PSR indicates that the Government
objects to the drug quantity calculation and base offense
level prescribed by the PSR. Addendum to the PSR 1, ECF No.
136. As the objection concerns facts and issues that are
relatively straightforward, no additional briefing was
2D1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines sets forth the method by
which sentencing courts are to determine the base offense
level for a conviction under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C).
U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2D1.1 (U.S.
Sentencing Comm'n 2018). For offenses where death or
serious bodily injury did not result from the use of the
relevant controlled substance, such as in the instant case,
Section 2D1.1(a)(5) directs the sentencing court to calculate
the offense level by using the Drug Quantity Table set forth
in Section 2D1.1(c). Id. at § 2D1.1(a)(5). In
order to use the Drug Quantity Table, the sentencing court
must first determine the type and quantity of controlled
substance that was involved in the offense. See Id.
at § 2D1.1(c).
quantity must be established by a preponderance of the
evidence. United States v. Turner, 604 F.3d 381, 385
(7th Cir. 2010). However, calculating drug quantity is not an
“exact science, ” and “a district court is
allowed to make reasonable estimates of drug quantity based
on the record before it.” United States v.
Sewell, 780 F.3d 839, 849 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing
United States v. Acosta, 534 F.3d 574, 582 (7th Cir.
2008)). “Estimates are reasonable if they are grounded
in ‘evidence possessing . . . sufficient indicia of
reliability and not nebulous eyeballing.'”
Id. (quoting United States v. Durham, 211
F.3d 437, 444 (7th Cir. 2000)). Consequentially, “[a]
district court may rely on facts asserted in the PSR if the
PSR is based on sufficiently reliable information.”
United States v. Rollins, 544 F.3d 820, 838 (7th
Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Schroeder, 536
F.3d 746, 752 (7th Cir. 2008); United States v.
Artley, 489 F.3d 813, 821 (7th Cir. 2007)).
calculating the drug quantity for a particular offense, the
sentencing court must consider a wide array of conduct.
Id. at § 1B1.3. Of course, the sentencing court
must consider the acts and omissions of the defendant.
Id. at § 1B1.3(a)(1)(A). Additionally, in
instances of jointly undertaken criminal activity, such as a
criminal plan, scheme, or conspiracy, the sentencing court
must also consider “all acts and omissions of others
that were- (i) within the scope of the jointly undertaken
criminal activity, (ii) in furtherance of that criminal
activity, and (iii) reasonably foreseeable in connection with
that criminal activity; that occurred during the commission
of the offense of conviction . . . .” Id. at
§ 1B1.3(a)(1)(B); see also United States v.
Jackson, 733 Fed.Appx. 313, 315 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing
United States v. Austin, 806 F.3d 425, 430 (7th Cir.
2015); Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.3(a)(1)(B)
(U.S. Sentencing Comm'n 2018)). Thus, for defendants
involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy, the sentencing
court must consider “not only [the] drug quantities
directly attributable to [the defendant] but also [the]
amounts involved in transactions by co-conspirators that were
reasonably foreseeable to [the defendant].” United
States v. Jones, 900 F.3d 440, 446 (7th Cir. 2018)
(citing Austin, 806 F.3d at 431); see also
Turner, 604 F.3d at 385 (quoting Acosta, 534
F.3d at 585).
“essential factor” a sentencing court must
consider when determining whether relevant conduct was
reasonably foreseeable to a defendant is “[t]he degree
of [the defendant's] participation in the joint
undertaking.” United States v. Lomax, 743
Fed.Appx. 678, 682 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing United States
v. Goodwin, 496 F.3d 636, 642-43 (7th Cir. 2007);
United States v. Edwards, 945 F.2d 1387, 1393-94
(7th Cir. 1991)). Notably, “reasonable foreseeability
‘does not require that a coconspirator be aware of the
precise quantity ...