Seventh Circuit - Drug Offenses

United States v. Dozier, 949 F.3d 322 (7th Cir. 2020). A prior Texas drug conviction punished as a misdemeanor is still a “felony drug offense” punishable by more than one year in prison because the defendant pled guilty to a two-year state jail felony. For purposes of the Controlled Substances Act, the statutory punishment range for the offense of conviction is the focal point, not the punishment received.

United States v. Draheim, 958 F.3d 651 (7th Cir. 2020). Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1)(4), the defendant’s leadership role in the meth distribution conspiracy foreclosed her eligibility for safety valve relief.

United States v. Carnell, 972 F.3d 932 (7th Cir. 2020). Circumstantial evidence by users, dealers and law enforcement that a drug appears to be “ice” based on look, smell, effect, nomenclature or the like will not suffice to meet the government’s preponderance burden that a drug is at least 80% pure methamphetamine.

United States v. Stamps, 983 F.3d 945 (7th Cir. 2020). Statutory safety valve requires a defendant to prove by a preponderance that any firearm possessed was unrelated to the drug trafficking conviction. It does not, unlike §2D1.1(b)’s two-level enhancement, require proof that the firearm’s connection to the drug offense was clearly improbable.

United States v. Sanchez, 989 F.3d 523 (7th Cir. 2021). The court did not plainly error in refusing to apply the minor role reduction at §3B1.2(b) to a courier who transported a large quantity of drugs, recruited others, unloaded narcotics at stash houses, and prevented law enforcement from apprehending a codefendant.

United States v. Wylie, 991 F.3d 861 (7th Cir. 2021). The court mistakenly believed it was required to impose the statutory mandatory minimum supervised release term on a drug trafficking offender who qualified for safety-valve relief under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f).

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