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United States v. Anderson

filed: October 21, 1988.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
GEORGE W. ANDERSON A/K/A "ASMAR" GEORGE ANDERSON, APPELLANT IN NO. 87-1595; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. HOWARD L. DENNIS A/K/A "CHES" HOWARD DENNIS, APPELLANT IN NO. 87-1607; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. EDWARD TAYLOR A/K/A "FAST EDDIE" EDWARD TAYLOR, APPELLANT IN NO. 87-1682



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Nos. 87-00014-01, 01A, 02.

Gibbons, Chief Judge, Seitz, Circuit Judge, Farnan, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Seitz

Opinion OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Circuit Judge.

Appellants, George Anderson ("Anderson"), Howard Dennis ("Dennis") and Edward Taylor ("Taylor"), appeal from their convictions and subsequent sentencing pursuant to a seven count superseding indictment charging Appellants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and with other related charges. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291.

I

On January 13, 1985, New Jersey State Trooper Karl Douglas stopped a 1981 Cadillac, travelling northbound on the New Jersey turnpike, after noticing that the vehicle's temporary registration was discolored. After stopping the car and noting that the temporary registration had in fact expired, Douglas asked the driver of the vehicle, George Anderson, for his driver's license. Douglas observed that the car had two passengers later identified as Appellants Dennis and Taylor. At this point, Douglas noticed a black plastic garbage bag on the center console of the car.

Douglas withdrew to his police car and returned to the Cadillac with a "Consent Form" in order to obtain authorization from Anderson to conduct a search of the vehicle. Douglas believed that a search was necessary because his training and experience had taught him that controlled substances are often transported in garbage bags. Anderson was informed that he had the right to refuse to allow the vehicle to be searched and could stop the search at any time. Anderson did not elect to exercise his rights and instead signed the consent form which had been read and presented to him.

Douglas searched the black garbage bag and found $10,400 therein. Anderson told Douglas that he won the money in Atlantic City and was headed for Chester, Pennsylvania. Douglas then requested the Appellants to leave the vehicle. The Officer patted down each Appellant and removed a large bulge from Taylor's pocket which turned out to be money. Douglas searched the remainder of the car including the trunk and discovered two other bags containing large sums of money. One bag found under the front passenger seat was claimed by Appellant Dennis. The other bag was found in the trunk and was claimed by Appellant Taylor after Douglas asked to whom it belonged.

The Cadillac was then impounded because of the expired registration and the three men were taken to the police station for questioning. No arrests were made following this sequence of events but Officer Douglas's testimony was presented at the trial of the Appellants.

In March 1985, Miles Edwards, a Philadelphia Police Officer assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, was detached to the William Penn Housing Project in Chester, Pennsylvania. Edwards's mission was to become familiar with, and make undercover drug purchases from the drug dealers known to be operating in the William Penn Project. Emerson Baynard, an undercover informant, was employed to assist Edwards in accomplishing his task.

Edwards's investigation began on March 6, 1985 and continued through June 23, 1986. During this time period Edwards, with the assistance of Baynard, had occasion to purchase controlled substances, including heroin, from 26 individuals. Among those individuals from whom Edwards purchased heroin were the following: Walter Dennis, Shawn Presbery, William Colder, George Jones, Anderson and Dennis.

On February 19, 1987, a seven count superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury against four individuals including Appellants. Anderson was charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and three counts of distribution of heroin. Dennis was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and with distribution of heroin. Taylor was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and with intent to distribute cocaine.

On May 20, 1987, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all of the counts charged with the exception of Taylor's intent to distribute cocaine charge.*fn1 On September 22, 1987, Anderson and Dennis were sentenced. Anderson received a 25 year sentence and a fine of $100,000 on the continuing criminal enterprise charge and concurrent 20 year terms on the remaining counts. Dennis was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. On October 22, 1987, ...


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