United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Jordan United States District Judge
defendant pled guilty to a methamphetamine distribution
offense and will be sentenced on July 25, 2017. The United
States Probation Office has prepared and disclosed a
Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”) [doc.
248], to which the defendant filed two objections. The first
objection has been sufficiently addressed by the probation
officer in the PSR Addendum. [Doc. 738]. For the reasons that
follow, the defendant's second objection will be
paragraph 25, the PSR increases the defendant's offense
level by two pursuant to advisory guideline 2D1.1(b)(12).
That guideline applies, “If the defendant maintained a
premises for the purpose of . . . distributing a controlled
substance . . . .” U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual
§ 2D1.1(b)(12) (2016).
application notes to guideline 2D1.1(b)(12) advise the court
to consider whether the defendant maintained a possessory
interest and the extent to which he controlled access to, or
activities at, the premises. Id. cmt. n.17. Drug
distribution need not be the sole purpose for which the
premises were maintained, but it must have been one of the
defendant's primary uses of the premises, rather than an
incidental or collateral activity. Id. The court
should consider how frequently the premises was used for
distributing drugs and how frequently it was used for lawful
purposes. Id. “At bottom, the question is
whether [the] home ‘played a significant part' in
distributing drugs.” United States v. Bell,
766 F.3d 634, 637 (6th Cir. 2014).
premises at issue in this case is on Sugar Hollow Road in
Morristown, Tennessee. The defendant acknowledges that he
“has resided at the East Sugar Hollow Road property for
much of his 53 years of life with the exception of about 8
years.” [Doc. 265, ex. 1, p. 3]. Located on that
property are at least two mobile homes, bearing house numbers
5550 and 5556.
defendant denies any possessory or ownership interest, claims
that he “has not paid rent to either property owner,
” and denies having any control over access to the
property. He further states that he lives only in the mobile
home at 5550 Sugar Hollow Road and points to law
enforcement documents stating that the controlled
methamphetamine purchases in this case took place at either
5556 Sugar Hollow Road or simply at “Sugar
Hollow Road.” In sum, the defendant contends that he
should not be held accountable for isolated drug transactions
occurring in a trailer over which he had no control.
defendant's objection is not well-taken, and his argument
regarding house numbers is a red herring. The plea agreement
signed by the defendant and his attorney admits to three
controlled purchases of methamphetamine from the defendant
occurring at “the defendant's residence on
Sugar Hollow Road in Morristown . . . .” [Doc. 180,
¶¶ 4(b)-(d)] (emphasis added). Those transactions
are the ones he complains actually occurred at 5556
Sugar Hollow Road or merely at “Sugar Hollow
Road.” [Doc. 265, exs. 5-7]. Further, in his plea
agreement the defendant also acknowledges that, “on at
least one occasion, co-defendant Guy Mayns directed
co-defendant Eric Reedy to go to the defendant's
residence so that [the defendant's son and co-defendant
“Nasty Nate”] Carroll would distribute a quantity
of methamphetamine to Reedy.” [Doc. 180, ¶ 4(g)]
(emphasis added). By his own admission, all of these drug
transactions occurred at the defendant's residence,
irrespective of any police confusion over his trailer's
correct house number.
in his plea agreement the defendant acknowledges a February
2016 recorded jailhouse phone call in which he instructed his
girlfriend to “clean the house up and get rid of
everything.” [Doc. 180, ¶ 4(f)].[1" name="FN1" id="FN1">1] This conversation
illustrates the defendant's control over his residence,
even if he was not the actual owner of the mobile home or the
land upon which it sat, and even if he did not pay rent.
See, e.g., United States v. Cannon, 552 F.App'x
512, 516 (6th Cir. 2014) (control over a residence
is sufficient for 2D1.1(b)(12), regardless of actual
ownership or formal rental agreement).
court accordingly finds by a preponderance of the evidence
that the guideline 2D1.1(b)(12) adjustment is warranted in
this case. The defendant had control over a residence from
which methamphetamine was regularly distributed.
reasons provided herein, the defendant's first objection
to his PSR is moot and his second objection is OVERRULED.
Sentencing remains set ...