Argued: March 24, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of North Carolina, at Statesville. Richard L.
Voorhees, District Judge. (5:14-cr-00058-RLV-DSC-1)
Richard Lamb Brown, Jr., LAW OFFICES OF RICHARD L. BROWN,
JR., Monroe, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Elizabeth Margaret Greenough, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Westmoreland Rose, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for
NIEMEYER, MOTZ, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the opinion, in
which Judge Motz and Judge Diaz joined.
NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge.
Mario Mondragon was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to
distribute methamphetamine and of possession with the intent
to distribute methamphetamine, the district court sentenced
him to 360 months' imprisonment. In determining
Mondragon's sentence, the court applied a two-level
enhancement for possession of a weapon, as provided in
U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1) - an enhancement designed to
"reflect the increased danger of violence when drug
traffickers possess weapons, " id. §
2D1.1(b)(1) cmt. n.11(A). In doing so, the court relied on
statements from two coconspirators, one who first met
Mondragon during and as part of the conspiracy and who
reported that he "saw Mondragon take apart or 'break
down' a revolver pistol while at [the
coconspirator's] residence, " and the other who
reported that he had seen "Mondragon with at least two
handguns" in the past.
the district court's application of the enhancement,
Mondragon argues that the record does not show that his
firearm possession bore any relation to his drug-trafficking
activities and therefore that the enhancement does not apply.
We conclude, however, that the government provided the
district court with sufficient evidence to support a finding
that Mondragon possessed a firearm in connection with his
drug-distribution activities, and accordingly we affirm.
Mondragon's arrest in June 2014, a federal grand jury
returned an indictment charging him in one count with
participation in a conspiracy from 2012 until June 2014 to
distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841 and 846, and in a second count with
possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on
July 13, 2013, as well as aiding and abetting the ...