Skip to main content


Reset A A Font size: Print

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Charles Anthony SLOAN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 20-30196

Decided: June 30, 2021

Before: SILVERMAN, WATFORD, and BENNETT, Circuit Judges. Karla Painter, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Leif Johnson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the US Attorney, Billings, MT, for Plaintiff-Appellee Kristina Lee Neal, Attorney, Helena, MT, for Defendant-Appellant


Charles Anthony Sloan appeals from the district court's judgment and challenges the 84-month sentence imposed following his guilty-plea conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

Sloan contends that the district court erred by denying his request for a minimal participant reduction under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2(a). We review the district court's interpretation of the Guidelines de novo, its factual findings for clear error, and its application of the Guidelines for abuse of discretion. See United States v. Gasca-Ruiz, 852 F.3d 1167, 1170 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc).

The record reflects that the district court properly considered the factors listed in the commentary to the mitigating role Guideline. See U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2 cmt. n.3(C). The court acknowledged Sloan's mitigating circumstances, including that Sloan was not entrusted with the drugs for sale or the proceeds from the sale, but reasonably denied the reduction in light of Sloan's decision-making authority, his awareness of the scope and structure of the criminal activity, and the nature of his participation. See United States v. Quintero-Leyva, 823 F.3d 519, 523 (9th Cir. 2016) (district court may deny a § 3B1.2 adjustment even if some factors weigh in favor of a reduction). To the extent Sloan also contends that the court erred by denying a minor participant adjustment under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2(b), the district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that Sloan was not “substantially less culpable than the average participant” in the criminal activity. See United States v. Diaz, 884 F.3d 911, 914 (9th Cir. 2018). Under the totality of the circumstances, the district court did not abuse its discretion. See U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2 cmt. n.3(C), n.4, n.5.


Copied to clipboard