UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Corinne ARAKAWA, Defendant-Appellant.
Decided: February 11, 2020
Before: FERNANDEZ, SILVERMAN, and TALLMAN, Circuit Judges.
Michael Francis Albanese, Esquire, Attorney, Elliot Enoki, Esquire, Marion Percell, Esquire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, DOJ - Office of the US Attorney, Honolulu, HI, for Plaintiff - Appellee Randall Ken Hironaka, Miyoshi & Hironaka LLC, Honolulu, HI, for Defendant - Appellant
Corinne Arakawa appeals from the district court’s judgment and challenges the 108-month sentence imposed following her guilty-plea conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and attempted distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and 846. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.
Arakawa contends that the district court erred by applying an aggravating role enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(a). We review the district court’s factual findings for clear error and its application of the Guidelines to the facts for abuse of discretion. See United States v. Gasca-Ruiz, 852 F.3d 1167, 1170 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc). The undisputed record reflects that Arakawa procured the narcotics involved in the conspiracy, sold those narcotics to other co-conspirators at a profit, and encouraged her co-conspirators to coordinate prices for distribution. Contrary to Arakawa’s argument, this evidence shows that she was more than a source of supply, and it supports the district court’s conclusion that she acted as an organizer or leader of the criminal conspiracy. See U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1 cmt. n.4; United States v. Rivera, 527 F.3d 891, 909 (9th Cir. 2008) (enhancement supported where evidence established that defendant “exercised decision making authority in the procurement and distribution of narcotics”); United States v. Garcia, 497 F.3d 964, 969-70 (9th Cir. 2007) (section 3B1.1(a) enhancement is supported where the evidence shows that the defendant exercised some degree of control or organizational authority).
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