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United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Joe David WHITE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 19-7022

Decided: May 29, 2020

Before HARTZ, EBEL, and MATHESON, Circuit Judges. Linda A. Epperley, Christopher Wilson, Office of the United States Attorney, Eastern District of Oklahoma, Muskogee, OK, for Plaintiff-Appellee Warren Gotcher, Gotcher and Beaver, McAlester, OK, for Defendant-Appellant


Joe David White pled guilty to one count of drug conspiracy and one count of distribution of methamphetamine. In determining Mr. White's sentence, the district court increased his base offense level based on finding he was a manager or supervisor of criminal activity that involved five or more participants. See United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”) § 3B1.1(b). The court calculated a Guidelines range of 151 to 188 months and sentenced Mr. White to 151 months in prison.

Mr. White appeals, arguing the district court erred in applying the § 3B1.1(b) enhancement. He also argues that, if we reverse the enhancement, he should receive safety-valve sentencing relief under U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a)(2), we affirm.

We review the district court's ruling for clear error. See United States v. Gonzalez Edeza, 359 F.3d 1246, 1248 (10th Cir. 2004) (“We review for clear error the district court's determination that [a defendant] acted as a manager or supervisor” under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(b).). “Under this standard, we will not reverse the district court's finding unless, on the entire evidence, we are left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. James, 592 F.3d 1109, 1113 (10th Cir. 2010) (quotations omitted). “[W]e view the evidence ․ in the light most favorable to the district court's determination.” United States v. Mozee, 405 F.3d 1082, 1088 (10th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).

Based on the record, we conclude that (1) at least five participants were involved in Mr. White's criminal activity, and (2) Mr. White was a manager or supervisor of at least one participant. The sentence enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(b) was therefore appropriate. Because Mr. White was a manager or supervisor, he does not qualify for safety-valve sentencing relief under U.S.S.G. § 5C1.2.

We uphold Mr. White's sentence and affirm the district court's judgment.

Scott M. Matheson, Jr., Circuit Judge

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