(E.D. Mich. 1996) (finding no ambiguity in the plea colloquy and concluding that the defendant's admission that the cocaine base constituted crack was knowing and voluntary).
Since "there can be no question that admissions to the [district] court by a defendant during a guilty plea colloquy can be relied upon by the [district] court at the sentencing stage," James, 78 F.3d at 856, and in light of the knowing and voluntary admission by the defendant that the contraband involved was crack cocaine, the Court concludes that it was proper to sentence the defendant pursuant to the crack cocaine enhancement provision under § 2D1.1.
Even if the Court were unable to find that the defendant had made a knowing and voluntary admission at the plea colloquy that the contraband was crack cocaine, the Court concludes that under James the government has met its burden at sentencing by establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the contraband involved in the instant offense was crack cocaine. See also United States v. Bennett, 100 F.3d 1105, 1111 (3d Cir. 1996) (explaining that under James the crack cocaine sentencing enhancement provision contained in § 2D1.1 applies "where the government proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the cocaine involved in the instant offense was crack."). At the sentencing hearing, the government called Philadelphia Police Officer Kenneth Bellis, who testified that the field tests which were performed on the narcotics contained in plastic bags seized from the defendant's residence tested positive for "cocaine." Doc. 61 at 25-26. Furthermore, based upon his police training and participation in "numerous arrests" for drug sales involving crack cocaine, Officer Bellis testified that the contraband seized from the plastic bags found inside the defendant's residence "was all a small off-white colored rocky substance. . . like gravel. . . which looked like--it appeared to be crack cocaine." Doc. 61 at 24. While Officer Bellis acknowledged that the laboratory report from the Philadelphia Police Department used the term "cocaine base" to describe the results from subsequent laboratory tests performed on the contraband, nevertheless, he explained that "when we get the analysis back [from the laboratory] saying cocaine base, that it means they have a presence for crack cocaine in that cocaine. That's been my experience." Doc. 61 at 30. Therefore, based upon the competent and credible testimony of Officer Bellis, the Court concludes that the government has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the contraband at issue in the instant offense was crack cocaine.
For the above reasons, the Court finds that it was proper to sentence the defendant pursuant to the crack cocaine enhancement provision under § 2D1.1.
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.