UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jose Alejandro Vasquez ROBLEDO, aka Gusano, Defendant-Appellant.
Decided: August 13, 2020
Before: HAWKINS and CHRISTEN, Circuit Judges, and BATAILLON,** District Judge.
Merry Jean Chan, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Alexis Jane Loeb, Trial Attorney, DOJ-USAO, San Francisco, CA, for Plaintiff-Appellee Martin Antonio Sabelli, The Law Offices of Martin Sabelli, San Francisco, CA, Darlene Bagley Comstedt, Law Office of Darlene Bagley Comstedt, San Francisco, CA, for Defendant-Appellant
Jose Alejandro Vasquez Robledo (“Robledo”) appeals his conviction for conspiracy to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine and distribution and possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. We affirm.
Assuming without deciding that the district court abused its discretion by allowing the government to introduce evidence Robledo had previously sold methamphetamine to codefendant Esparza, any alleged error did not materially affect the verdict. See United States v. Torres, 794 F.3d 1053, 1063 (9th Cir. 2015). The drug sale at issue was captured on video and audio by the confidential informant (“CI”) and personally observed by ATF agents. The recordings showed Robledo and Esparza meeting with the CI on the date of the sale. Shortly thereafter, Robledo was recorded talking on the phone to the CI, telling him when the drugs would arrive, and saying “his guy was coming right now” just as video showed Esparza arriving on a bicycle. After Esparza and the CI exchanged the drugs and cash, ATF agents watched Esparza ride back to Robledo and hand over the cash from the transaction. Four separate witnesses—the CI, Esparza, and two agents—provided testimony consistent with what appeared on the recordings, and contradicted Robledo's testimony he was merely trying to buy a gold chain, which was never mentioned on any of the audio or video recordings. The evidence “overwhelmingly proved the defendant's guilt” and Robledo's conviction therefore must stand. United States v. Sine, 493 F.3d 1021, 1041 (9th Cir. 2007).
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