Submitted March 13, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Allison Hart Behrens, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Cristian Matthew Stevens, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO.
For Daryl Warren, Defendant - Appellant: Daniel Warren Hoff Jr., Saint Louis, MO.
Daryl Warren, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Greenville, IL.
Before MURPHY and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges, and HARPOOL District Judge.
MURPHY, Circuit Judge.
An undercover agent working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) recruited Daryl Warren and two other men, Michael Twitty and Robert Washington, to rob a home in St. Louis reportedly being used to store cocaine. After Warren, Twitty, and Washington had agreed to the robbery, they were arrested and charged with various drug and firearm offenses. A jury convicted Warren of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 21 U.S.C. § 846, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). The district court sentenced Warren to 211 months imprisonment followed by a five year term of supervised release. Warren appeals, raising several arguments related to the investigation, the trial evidence, and his sentence. We affirm.
In 2009 the ATF implemented Operation Gideon, a series of undercover sting operations designed to arrest criminals who were robbing locations where drugs were stored. Rather than planting drugs in such locations with the expectation of making arrests, the ATF developed an alternative technique. Undercover ATF agents would describe a fictitious location to suspects and support plans for gaining access to it. When suspects were later about to carry out such a plan, they were arrested. The ATF used this technique in St. Louis, Missouri from April to June 2013 following increased violence in drug related robberies.
The investigation and arrest of Warren involved two confidential informants and Richard Zayas, an undercover ATF agent. On May 21, 2013 the confidential informants purchased an ounce of cocaine from Warren's cousin, Robert Washington. The informants subsequently introduced Washington to Zayas, who purchased another ounce of cocaine from Washington. During this purchase, Zayas claimed that he was a disgruntled drug courier looking for a crew to help him rob a Mexican drug cartel of large amounts of cocaine. Washington said ...