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United States of America v. Dannytheriault

January 25, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
DANNYTHERIAULT,ALSO KNOWN AS VINNY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, DAVIDSUNDAY, ALSO KNOWN AS SNOOKTY, DENNY THERIAULT, JOSHUA SPAULDING, ALSO KNOWN AS SPANK, CHAD E. FELLERS, JARED CALLAHAN, ALSO KNOWN AS ROO, AND JACKALEEN THERIAULT, ALSO KNOWN AS MA, DEFENDANTS.*FN2



Appeal from a December 21, 2009 judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Gary L. Sharpe, Judge).

09-5327-cr (con)

United States v. Theriault

SUMMARY ORDER

Rulings by summary order do not have precedential effect. Citation to a summary order filed on or after January 1, 2007, is permitted and is governed by Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 and this Court's Local Rule 32.1.1. When citing a summary order in a document filed with this Court, a party must cite either the Federal Appendix or an electronic database (with the notation "summary order"). A party citing a summary order must serve a copy of it on any party not represented by counsel.

At a stated term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, in the City of New York, on the 25TH day of January, two thousand eleven.

PRESENT: JOSE A. CABRANES, REENARAGGI, Circuit Judges, RICHARDK. EATON, Judge.*fn1

UPON CONSIDERATION WHEREOF, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the judgment of the District Court be AFFIRMED.

An indictment filed in the Northern District of New York on April 19, 2007, charged defendant-appellant Danny Theriault ("Theriault"), his mother, Jackaleen Theriault, his brother, Denny Theriault, and four other defendants, David Sunday, Joshua Spaulding, Chad E. Fellers, and Jared Callahan, with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 18 U.S.C.§ 2 (Count One), and conspiring to import into the United States from Canada over 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 963 and 18 U.S.C.§ 2 (Count Two). Nearly two years later, the government proceeded to trial against Theriault and his mother (jointly, the "Theriaults"). At the close of the government's case, the District Court granted, with the government's consent, the Theriaults' motion for a judgment of acquittal on Count Two. Theriault (along with his mother) was subsequently found guilty on Count One. The District Court sentenced Theriault to a term of 210 months. Theriault now appeals his conviction and sentence.

I. Background

At trial, the government introduced considerable evidence in support of its theory of the case. According to the government, co-conspirator David Sunday supplied large quantities of marijuana-imported from Canada-to the Theriaults, who, along with the other named co-conspirators, redistributed the marijuana and helped to return some of the proceeds back to the Canadian source of supply.

New York State Trooper Gary Snell testified about Theriault's post-arrest admissions. According to Snell, Theriault acknowledged that he had been part of a marijuana trafficking conspiracy with David Sunday for over a year. As Snell further explained:

[Theriault] told me they used trapped out vehicles to smuggle marijuana, typically Mr. Theriault would be told that the vehicle was left on [the] American side of the St. Regis Indian Reservation, which he was told was loaded with marijuana. He or another of his partners was given instructions where to take the car, deliver the marijuana and return the vehicle back to the Indian reservation where it would be picked up by someone. Co-conspirator Jared Callahan, who had agreed to plead guilty prior to the Theriaults' trial, testified for the government as a cooperating witness. Callahan testified that from January 2006 to March 2007 he frequently purchased large quantities of marijuana from the Theriaults or their associates. Although Danny Theriault-known to Callahan as "Vinny"-was never personally present at any drug transaction involving Callahan, he served as Callahan's primary contact in arranging the drug deals. Additionally, the government introduced inculpatory evidence collected from various vehicle stops and wiretaps relating to the Theriaults' involvement in this drug conspiracy.

At the close of the government's case, the Theriaults moved for a judgment of acquittal on all charges against them pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. While considering this motion, the District Court expressed doubts about whether the government had met its burden of proof concerning Count Two-the importation conspiracy. The District Court questioned whether the government had done anything to establish that Canada was the source of the drugs supplied to the Theriaults by Sunday. In response to these concerns, the government conceded that the Theriaults' Rule 29 motion should be granted as to Count Two only.

Neither Danny Theriault nor Jackaleen Theriault testified or called any witnesses in their defense. The jury found both Theriaults guilty of the marijuana distribution conspiracy alleged in Count One of the indictment, and ...


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