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United States v. Brown

April 12, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL JOHN BROWN, JUAN MANUAL PEREZ, LESVIA PEREZ, AND DONALD SEARS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Daniel L. Hovland, District Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT SEARS'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR A BILL OF PARTICULARS

Before the Court is Defendant Donald Sears's "Motion to Dismiss Count Two of the Indictment or for Bill of Particulars" filed on March 11, 2010. See Docket Nos. 64 and 68. The Government filed a response in opposition to the motion on March 25, 2010. See Docket No. 70. Sears filed a reply brief on April 1, 2010. See Docket No. 73. For the reasons outlined below, the motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Donald Sears was indicted on July 15, 2009, on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, and one count of money laundering conspiracy to conceal and disguise the nature, location, ownership, and control of proceeds of specified unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). See Docket No. 1. The charges stem from drug trafficking activities that allegedly occurred between April 1, 2003 and February 2008.

On March 11, 2010, Sears filed a motion to dismiss count two of the indictment or, in the alternative, for a bill of particulars on that count. Count two provides, in relevant part:

1. During the course of and to further said conspiracy, members of the conspiracy gathered United States currency together that was derived from the sale of controlled substances.

2. During the course of and to further said conspiracy, members of the conspiracy and through the use of third-parties wired money derived from the sale of controlled substances to individuals in Texas.

3. The purpose of transferring currency using the above-described methods was to conceal and disguise the nature, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds of drug trafficking.

See Docket No. 1. Count two also provides detailed descriptions of twenty wire transactions that occurred in 2007 in furtherance of the conspiracy.

II. LEGAL DISCUSSION

A. MOTION TO DISMISS

Sears argues that count two is insufficient because it fails to inform him of the specific facts alleged against him. Sears states,

The United States has submitted over 1,600 pages of discovery regarding the charges brought in this case against Defendant Sears and the co-defendants, Michael John Brown, Juan Manuel Perez, and Lesvia Perez. See Affidavit of Damian Huettl. None of the discovery provided implicates Defendant Sears as being involved with any of the twenty (20) specific wire transfers that form the basis for the charges. Id. This shows that Defendant Sears is not reasonably apprised of the charges against him due to the fact that the specific financial transactions listed in the Indictment do not involve him, and, because of the lack of specificity in the remainder of the Indictment, Defendant Sears has no knowledge of what factual basis the Grand Jury relied upon in indicting him, nor what facts he must defend against at trial. Therefore, because the indictment fails to provide Defendant ...


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