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United States v. Sacus

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 30, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Charles Sacus, also known as Hi-C, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted, January 16, 2015

Page 1215

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Allison Hart Behrens, Cristian Matthew Stevens, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO.

For Charles Sacus, Defendant - Appellant: Thomas Patrick Deaton Jr., Saint Louis, MO.

Charles Sacus, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Leavenworth, KS.

Before WOLLMAN, SMITH, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1216

SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Charles Sacus pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing illegal drugs, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court[1] sentenced Sacus to 144 months' imprisonment for each drug offense and 120 months' imprisonment for the firearm offense to be served concurrently. Sacus appeals his sentence for the firearm offense arguing that the district court miscalculated the number of firearms he possessed and that he was a victim of sentencing manipulation. Sacus also appeals the sentences for his drug offenses, claiming that they violate his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. We affirm.

I. Background

On February 25, 2013, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) began an undercover operation in St. Louis, Missouri, aimed at illegal firearms sales. BATF agents operated a fake tattoo parlor that the agents used as a staging area to set up stings for illegal sales.

On February 25th, after receiving a police tip, an undercover agent went to a nearby store to investigate potential drug transactions in the parking lot. When the agent initially approached the store's parking lot, he saw Sacus make a hand-to-hand drug sale. When Sacus later approached the agent in the parking lot, the agent asked Sacus if he had any drugs for sale. Sacus indicated that he did, and the agent responded by telling Sacus to meet him at the tattoo parlor to facilitate the transaction. Sacus later went to the tattoo parlor and made two heroin sales to undercover agents. On March 4, 2013, Sacus returned to the tattoo parlor and this time made two cocaine base sales to undercover agents.

During Sacus's initial visit to the tattoo parlor on February 25, 2013, agents asked Sacus if he knew anyone who was interested in selling firearms. On February ...


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