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United States v. Vargas-Garcia

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 16, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
RAYMON VARGAS-GARCÍA, Defendant, Appellant

Page 163

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Juan M. Pérez-Giménez, U.S. District Judge.

Irma R. Valldejuli on brief for appellant.

Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and Juan Carlos Reyes-Ramos, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

Before Kayatta, Selya and Lipez, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 164

SELYA, Circuit Judge.

Disappointed by a sentence that was six months longer than he had hoped, defendant-appellant Raymon Vargas-García appeals on two grounds: that the sentence lacks adequate explanation and that it is substantively unreasonable. While his disappointment is understandable, his claims of error are without merit. Accordingly, we affirm.

I.

Background

" Since this appeal trails in the wake of a guilty plea, we draw the facts from the plea agreement, the change-of-plea colloquy, the undisputed portions of the presentence investigation report (PSI Report), and the transcript of the disposition hearing." United States v. Rivera-González, 776 F.3d 45, 47 (1st Cir. 2015). In July of 2013, the defendant was arrested after a search of his residence in Ponce, Puerto Rico, turned up 79 " decks" of heroin, a marijuana cigarette, $7,757 in cash, two loaded guns, and an assortment of ammunition. The defendant admitted his ownership of the seized items and asserted that he possessed the firearms to protect himself " from rival gang members."

A federal grand jury subsequently returned a two-count indictment against the defendant. One count charged him with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(a). The other charged him with possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The latter count carried a five-year mandatory minimum and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, to run consecutively to any sentence imposed for the

Page 165

underlying drug-trafficking offense. See id. § ...


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