Submitted: June 9, 2017
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Kansas City
LOKEN, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.
Federico Almeida-Olivas was involved in the distribution of
methamphetamine in the Kansas City, Missouri area. He was
charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a
mixture containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), 846, and use of a
communication device to facilitate the distribution of
methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b),
(d). After all the evidence was presented, Almeida-Olivas
moved for judgment of acquittal. The district
court denied the motion and the jury convicted
him of both counts. Almeida-Olivas appeals and we affirm.
March 2010, Department of Homeland Security agents in the
Kansas City, Missouri area began investigating a drug
trafficking organization. During the investigation, agents
conducted surveillance and obtained court approval for a
series of Title III wiretaps. Through the investigation,
agents identified 31 individuals involved in a conspiracy to
distribute methamphetamine. In March 2012, those 31
individuals were charged with conspiracy. However, due to
confusion over Almeida-Olivas's identity based on an
informant's misidentification of Almeida-Olivas as his
brother, Jesus, Almeida-Olivas was not charged. Those 31
individuals pleaded guilty.
it became clear that Almeida-Olivas was not his brother, a
two-count indictment charged him with conspiracy to
distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture containing
methamphetamine and use of a communication device, a
telephone, to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine.
Almeida-Olivas was tried before a jury. At the close of
evidence, Almeida-Olivas moved for a judgment of acquittal.
The district court denied the motion. Almeida-Olivas also
requested a lesser-included-offense jury instruction that
would permit the jury to find him guilty of conspiracy to
distribute "500 grams or more or less" of
methamphetamine. The district court rejected the request
"on the basis that if the jury can't find 500 grams
the way its been charged, then they've got to find him
jury convicted Almeida-Olivas of both counts. The district
court sentenced him to 210 months on the conspiracy count and
48 months on the use of a telephone count, to be served
consecutively. Almeida-Olivas appeals.
argues that the district court erred by denying his motion
for judgment of acquittal and by refusing his request for a
lesser-included-offense jury instruction.
reviewing the denial of a motion for a judgment of acquittal,
we review the sufficiency of the evidence de novo,
evaluating the evidence in the light most favorable to the
verdict and drawing all reasonable inferences in its
favor." United States v. Wright, 739 F.3d 1160,
1167 (8th Cir. 2014). "[T]he court will not disturb the
conviction unless 'no reasonable jury could have found
the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.'"
Id. (quoting United States v.
Serrano-Lopez, 366 F.3d 628, 634 (8th Cir. 2004)).
"[I]t is not necessary for the evidence before the jury
to rule out every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. It is
enough if the entire body of evidence be sufficient ...