People v. Long, 2012018 IL App (4th) 150919 (August). Episode 535 (Duration 7:35)
Defendant is guilty of a conspiracy but the state had to prove how much meth they made with his camping fuel.
The State charged defendant with unlawful methamphetamine conspiracy. Het delivered Coleman fuel, a methamphetamine manufacturing material, for that purpose, resulting in the manufacture of 486 grams of methamphetamine. See more types of Illinois criminal charges.
The court then sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
Defendant and an individual named MB agreed to manufacture methamphetamine. It was defendant’s bad luck because law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the trailer where they were cooking.
The trailer was owned by DB.
Inside The Trailer
The officers discovered a “shake-and-bake meth lab” and methamphetamine manufacturing materials, including Coleman fuel.
The State’s evidence showed two containers of Coleman fuel were found in the trailer—one half-empty, one gallon container that was found on the bathroom sink area and one empty, 32 ounce container that was found in a bathroom cabinet.
3 Batches Discovered
Additionally, methamphetamine was discovered in three separate containers.
Specifically, 285.5 grams of methamphetamine were found in a Gatorade bottle in the trailer’s bathroom sink and two bottles containing 133 grams and 268.2 grams of methamphetamine were found in a bedroom.
Both MB and DB were present when the search warrant was executed and were arrested. Defendant was not there.
Actively Cooking When Police Showed Up
On the morning that defendant delivered Coleman fuel to MB, later that day, the police executed a search warrant on DB’s trailer. According to MB, “there was a meth cook going on at that time.”
Evidence further showed that three methamphetamine “cooks” were discovered in DB’s trailer. While two of the cooks were located in the trailer’s bedroom, one was located in the bathroom sink and was found to contain 285.5 grams of methamphetamine.
In fact, all three methamphetamine “cooks” each contained over 100 grams of methamphetamine.
During an interview, defendant acknowledged providing a can of Coleman fuel to DB on the day that the search warrant was executed. It could be inferred that he knew they were going to use it to cook meth.
The Other Sentences
The actual cook in the case plead to 6 years.
The Sentencing Range
The State alleged he conspired to manufacture 400 to 900 grams of methamphetamine, a Class X felony with an applicable sentencing range of 12 to 50 years in prison. 720 IILCS 646/15(a)(2)(D).
There is also conspiracy to manufacture 100 to 400 grams of methamphetamine, a Class X felony with an applicable sentencing range of 9 to 40 years in prison (id. § 15(a)(2)(C)).
Finally, there is a Class 1 felony based on the manufacture of less than 15 grams of methamphetamine (id. § 15(a)(2)(A))
Defendant argues, however, that the State’s evidence failed to establish the quantity of methamphetamine that was actually attributable to the charged conspiracy.
Although he acknowledges that a total amount of over 400 grams of methamphetamine was found in the trailer in three separate containers, he contends the evidence failed to show that all, or any, of that methamphetamine was attributable to the alleged conspiracy and the Coleman fuel he gave to MB.
Defendant is looking for a reduction of his conviction.
The Act provides that a person who engages in a methamphetamine conspiracy “shall face the penalty for the offense that is the object of the conspiracy” and that the person “may be held accountable for the cumulative weight of any methamphetamine, substance containing methamphetamine, methamphetamine precursor, or substance containing methamphetamine precursor attributable to the conspiracy for the duration of the conspiracy.” 720 ILCS 646/65(b).
Further, the State is required to prove that defendant intended and agreed with MB to participate in methamphetamine manufacturing and that one of the conspirators committed an act in furtherance of the agreement, it also had to prove the amount of methamphetamine attributable to the conspiracy.
As indicated, the object of the conspiracy in this case was a violation of section 15(a)(1) of the Act, i.e., participation in methamphetamine manufacturing.
Element Of The Crime
Any fact that increases the range of penalties for a crime is considered an element of the charged offense and must be submitted to a jury and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490 (2000).
Here, we agree with the parties that the evidence failed to establish that all of the methamphetamine discovered in DB’s trailer was attributable to the conspiracy involving defendant.
Any methamphetamine already in DB’s possession had to have been manufactured prior to defendant’s delivery of the Coleman fuel and could not be attributable to defendant’s agreement with MB.
Nevertheless, we also agree with the State’s position that it presented sufficient evidence to show that at least one of the methamphetamine “cooks” discovered in the trailer was attributable to the conspiracy at issue.
Cook Of The Day
A reasonable inference from the evidence presented is that at least one of the methamphetamine “cooks” found in DB’s trailer occurred on the day the police showed up, after MB received the Coleman fuel from defendant.
Further, because MB and DB had no other Coleman fuel on or immediately prior to the search, the “cook” that occurred that day had to have been accomplished through the use of the Coleman fuel provided by defendant.
A reasonable inference may also be made that the methamphetamine “cook” found in the bathroom sink and in close proximity to the Coleman fuel provided by defendant was the “cook” that occurred on the day of arrest.
Thus, the 285.5 grams of methamphetamine associated with that “cook” were attributable to the conspiracy.
Here, the evidence sufficiently established that 100 to 400 grams of methamphetamine was attributable to the conspiracy involving defendant rather than the 400 to 900 grams charged by the State.
As a result, we accept the relief suggested by the parties and reduce defendant’s conviction to the offense of methamphetamine conspiracy based on his participation in the manufacture of 100 or more grams but less than 400 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine (720 ILCS 646/15(a)(2)(C)) and remand for resentencing. See Ill. S. Ct. R. 615(b)(3) (eff. Apr. 26, 2012) (providing that a reviewing court may “reduce the degree of the offense of which the appellant was convicted”).