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United States v. Santos-Soto

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 24, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
NORMA SANTOS-SOTO, CARLOS PLAZA-SANTIAGO, Defendants, Appellants

Page 50

APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Carmen Consuelo Cerezo, U.S. District Judge.

Gail S. Strassfeld, for appellant Santos-Soto.

Ramón M. González, for appellant Plaza-Santiago.

Tiffany V. Monrose, Scott H. Anderson, Assistant United States Attorneys, with whom Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, and Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, were on brief, for appellee.

Before Howard, Chief Judge, Torruella and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.

After a six-day jury trial, Defendants-Appellants Norma Santos-Soto (" Santos" ) and Carlos Plaza-Santiago (" Plaza" ), former police agents of the Puerto Rico Police, were convicted of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate persons in the town of Arecibo in the exercise of their constitutional rights in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241 (Count 1) and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841, 846 (Count 2). On appeal, they challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting their convictions on Count 2.[1] After careful consideration, we reverse Santos's conviction

Page 52

on Count 2 for insufficient evidence, but find that there was sufficient evidence to convict Plaza on Count 2. We, therefore, affirm his conviction.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

We recite the facts as the jury could have found them, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict. See United States v. Beltran,503 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 2007). Santos and Plaza used to work as police agents in the Arecibo Drug Division of the Puerto Rico Police. In 2007, as members of the " Confidentiality" section, Defendants worked with undercover agents, including Agent José ...


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