Donald Lee Houston pleaded guilty to manufacturing, attempting to manufacture, and aiding and abetting the manufacture of five or more grams of actual methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B). Houston now appeals his sentence, arguing the district court clearly erred in finding that he is accountable for more than 50 but less than 150 grams of actual methamphetamine, which resulted in a base offense level of 32. The issue on appeal, one of first impression, is whether the government proved that the methamphetamine quantities Houston admitted he helped manufacture were “actual” methamphetamine quantities, rather than mixture quantities. United States v. Houston, 338 F.3d 876, 878 (8th Cir. 2003)
On this record, we can only conclude that the district court, like the author of the PSR, simply assumed that the quantities Houston admitted to Agent Brugman were actual methamphetamine quantities. We think the assumption unwarranted. When a lay person is asked in general terms how much methamphetamine he helped someone else cook, his answer will almost certainly be in terms of the size of the resulting mixture, not the net weight of one of its components. The quantity itself is supported, but the finding that it was actual methamphetamine is clearly erroneous.
Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law
Want to learn about our recent victories?
Do you want to buy our Lawstache merchandise? Maybe a t-shirt?
Are you are a Russian speaker? Вы говорите по-русски?
185 West F Street Suite 100-D
San Diego, CA 92101
Based in San Diego, CA
Licensed: California, Nevada, and Federal Courts
The San Diego-based business litigation and criminal defense attorneys at LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM are experienced and dedicated professionals singularly focused on one goal: achieving the best results for our clients. Through our hard work and expertise, we guarantee all of our clients that we will diligently protect their rights and zealously pursue justice. Our clients deserve nothing less!