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United States v. Orantes-Arriaga

United States District Court, D. Oregon

August 10, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CARLOS HUMBERTO ORANTES-ARRIAGA, Defendant. No. 3:16-cv-02414-MA

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Malcolm F. Marsh, United States District Judge.

         Defendant, an inmate confined at Tucson USP, moves to reduce his sentence pursuant to § 3582(c), or to vacate his sentence or conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2255. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 26, 1991, a jury convicted Defendant of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Illegal Re-entry, Aiding in the Production of a False Driver's License, Traveling Interstate Commerce with Intent to Distribute Heroin (two counts), Aiding in the Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin (six counts), Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Use of a Communication Device in the Commission of a Felony Conspiracy (seven counts), Attempted Money Laundering, Aiding the Attempted Travel in Interstate Commerce to Carry on an Unlawful Activity, Aiding in the Attempted Laundering of Monetary Instruments, and Attempting to Distribute Heroin. Verdict (ECF No. 422).

         On November 6, 1991, this Court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment on Count One (Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Heroin) and to a forty-eight month term of imprisonment on each remaining count, to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed on Count One. J. (ECF No. 531). This Court's sentencing calculation was premised on a base offense level of 40 and a criminal history category IV. Tr. of Sentencing (ECF No. 603) at 3996-97; Findings of Fact (ECF No. 532) at 3-4; Def's Exs. (ECF No. 866), Ex. M at 19-21. This Court imposed a two-level enhancement for weapons found related to the drug conspiracy, a four-level enhancement for Defendant's role as a leader of a criminal activity with five or more participants, and a two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice, resulting in a total offense level of 48. Tr. of Sentencing at 3997-99; Findings of Fact at 3-4. With regard to the sentence enhancement for obstruction of justice, this Court stated:

Mr. Orantes, I feel did commit untruthful testimony during the trial, particularly in putting the government to the extensive proof of negating his spurious allegations that the government had in some way been involved with the Mexican authorities in his arrest and alleged treatment by the Mexican authorities. And therefore, I am enhancing Mr. Orantes two levels.

         Tr. of Sentencing at 3997. Based on Defendant's criminal history category of IV, the resulting sentencing guideline range was life. Tr. of Sentencing at 3999. The Ninth Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence. United States v. Orantes-Arriaga, 998 F.2d 1491 (9th Cir. 1993).

         On April 9, 1997, Defendant filed his first § 2255 motion challenging the legality of both his conviction and sentence. Mot. to Vacate (ECF No. 712). This Court denied Defendant's Motion and the Ninth Circuit affirmed on appeal. Order (ECF No. 793), J. and Mandate (ECF No. 809).

         On January 11, 2006, Defendant filed a Motion for Modification of Sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3582(c) and Sentencing Guideline Amendment 505. Def.'s Mot. for Modification of Sentence (ECF No. 820) at 1. Sentencing Guideline Amendment 505 reduced the highest base offense level for drug offenses from 42 to 38. In his Motion, Defendant conceded that if his sentencing guideline range was recalculated under Amendment 505, he would have a total offense level of 46 which would still result in a sentence guideline range of life. Def.'s Mot. for Modification of Sentenceat3.

         On June 21, 2006, this Court exercised its discretion to deny Defendant's Motion for Modification. Op. and Order (ECF No. 820) at 4. On August 1, 2007, the Ninth Circuit vacated this Court's decision and remanded with instructions to dismiss Defendant's Motion for lack of jurisdiction. The Court explained:

Even though Amendment 505 retroactively lowered the offense level that applied to Orantes, the sentencing range that would have applied to him-automatic life imprisonment-remained the same. Therefore, § 3582(c)(2), which creates jurisdiction where the "sentencing range" has been lowered, did not confer jurisdiction on the district court to resentence in this case. See also U.S.S.G. § IB 1.10(a) (tying resentencing to the "guideline range applicable to [the] defendant").

United States v. Orantes-Arriaga, 244 F.App'x 151, 152 (9th Cir. 2007). In the instant proceeding, Defendant again seeks relief pursuant to § 3582(c)(2) and, in the alternative, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§2241 and 2255.

         DISCUSSION

         The government's investigation of Defendant's drug trafficking began in 1986 and extended through 1990 as set forth by the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Arias-Villanueva,998 F.2d 1491 (9th Cir. 1993). On November 2, 1990, Defendant was arrested by U.S. officials after accepting ...


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