USA v. Campo Flores et al
Criminal

SENTENCING SUBMISSION by USA as to Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, Franqui Francisco Flores De Freitas.

Southern District of New York, nysd-1:2015-cr-00765-449796

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5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -v.- S5 15 Cr. 765 (PAC) EFRAIN ANTONIO CAMPO FLORES and FRANQUI FRANCISCO FLORES DE FREITAS, Defendants. THE GOVERNMENT'S SUPPLEMENTAL SENTENCING MEMORANDUM AS TO DEFENDANTS EFRAIN ANTONIO CAMPO FLORES AND FRANQUI FRANCISCO FLORES DE FREITAS JOON H. KIM Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Attorney for the United States of America Emil J. Bove III Brendan F. Quigley Assistant United States Attorneys Of Counsel 5 TABLE OF CONTENTS DISCUSSION ................................................................................................................................. 2 I. The Seriousness of the Offense and Need to Promote Respect for the Law Are Significant Aggravating Considerations .............................................................................. 2 II. The Defendants Continue to Ignore the Record of Their Extensive Criminal Conduct ........ 4 III. The Defendants' Personal Characteristics Do Not Warrant Leniency ................................. 8 IV. Sentences of At Least 360 Months Would Not Cause Unwarranted Sentencing Disparities ........................................................................................ 13 A. Sentencing Statistics Refute the Defendants' Self-Serving Claims and Illustrate the Need for a Sentence Greatly in Excess of the Mandatory Minimum .............. 13 B. The Cases Relied Upon by the Defendants Do Not Justify 10-year Sentences ............... 16 1. United States v. Fabio Lobo, No. 15 Cr. 174 (LGS) .................................................... 16 2. United Sates v. Gabrielle Aguirre Cuero, No. 15 Cr. 125 (PKC) ................................ 18 3. United States v. Djeme and Yala, No. 12 Cr. 972 (RMB) ............................................ 20 4. United States v. Coke, No. 07 Cr. 971 (RPP) ............................................................... 21 V. Substantial Sentences Are Necessary to Achieve General Deterrence ................................ 21 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................. 23 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -v.- S5 15 Cr. 765 (PAC) EFRAIN ANTONIO CAMPO FLORES and FRANQUI FRANCISCO FLORES DE FREITAS, Defendants. The Government respectfully submits this memorandum in response to the December 1, 2017 letters filed by defendants Efrain Antonio Campo Flores (the "Campo Ltr.") and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas (the "Flores Ltr."). While urging the Court to focus on "the reality of the situation" and the "actual facts and circumstances," the defendants' letters read as if the trial never happened (save for the cross- examination of CS-1), and the Court never ruled on the defendants' post-trial motions or the Sentencing Guidelines. (Campo Ltr. at 1; Flores Ltr. at 14). For example, the defendants continue to assert, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that each is a "novice" and there is no evidence of prior drug-trafficking activities or their ability to procure cocaine. Although both the jury and the Court rejected the defendants' entrapment defense, they continue to portray themselves as victims rather than convicted criminals. They persist in their now-refuted claim that the conspiracy at issue was a creation of the Government, and suggest illogically that the crimes of CS-1 and CS- 2 should somehow offset or mitigate their prison terms. Seeking to distract the Court from their repeated use of private aircraft, as well as recorded statements and seized communications establishing their extremely privileged socio-economic status in Venezuela at the time of their offense, the defendants focus their "history and characteristics" arguments on the purported 5 circumstances of their childhoods, many years ago. In sum, the defendants have made no effort to accept responsibility, or even acknowledge the evidence in this case. They offer excuses, not remorse, for their conduct. The only regret evident from their submissions is their decision to fly to Haiti rather than completing the offense from a politically protected location Venezuela where there is no extradition treaty.1 The "reality of the situation" and the "actual facts and circumstances" are these: the defendants were leaders in a conspiracy to move a massive amount of cocaine to the United States; they cultivated connections to at least one major cocaine supplier as well as a designated foreign terrorist organization in furtherance of what they described as "war" with this country; they relied on armed security terms during the offense; and they sought to use some of the proceeds of their crime to steal an election and prop up a corrupt regime. In light of these realities, sentences of at least 360 months' imprisonment and significant fines for each defendant are sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to serve the legitimate purposes of sentencing. DISCUSSION I. The Seriousness of the Offense and Need to Promote Respect for the Law Are Significant Aggravating Considerations As discussed at length in two post-trial submissions describing the record, the defendants engaged in a course of extraordinarily serious criminal conduct involving significant, politically- connected drug-trafficking activities. (See Gov't Opp'n to the Defs.' Post-Trial Motions (Dkt. No. 1 (Campo Ltr. at 4 ("This case exposed novices who were foolish enough to travel to Haiti on the promise that they were going to receive millions of dollars having done virtually nothing."); see also id. at 3 ("[B]ecause Mr. Campo Flores was lured to a Caribbean island where he had never been and then brought extra-judicially to a country where he had never engaged in any crime, he is facing a prison sentence. . . .")). 2 5 162); Gov't Sentencing Mem. (Dkt. No. 180)). During the course of a conspiracy to import huge volumes of cocaine into the United States, the defendants relied on their political power and impunity in Venezuela to try to dispatch drug-laden aircraft from and through significant international airports using a hangar controlled by the Venezuelan President. The defendants cultivated a relationship with a cocaine supplier who could provide the substance by the "shovelful," as well as at least one connection to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the "FARC"). Consistent with the FARC's agenda, Campo declared the defendants to be at "war" with the United States. And the defendants pursued drug trafficking not only to enrich themselves, but also in an effort to maintain their family's political control by supporting a campaign of Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores. In this regard, Campo emphasized to CS-1 that the drug- derived cash was urgently necessary. His view was consistent with polls at that time showing that "70% of respondents expressing a preference will vote for opponents of" Nicolás Maduro's government in the then-upcoming elections. See Muddled, Yet United; Venezuela's Legislative Elections, The Economist, Oct. 3, 2015.2 Opposition to the Maduro regime ran high, at least in part, because the Venezuelan people lacked basic necessities and had been victimized by 2 Available at https://www.economist.com/news/americas/21669929-voters-are-eager-end- chavismo-can-disciplined-diverse-opposition-coalition (last accessed Dec. 7, 2017); see also OFAC, Treasury Sanctions the President of Venezuela, July 31, 2017, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0137.aspx (last accessed December 8, 2017) ("Under Maduro, the Venezuelan government has deliberately and repeatedly abused the rights of citizens through the use of violence, repression, and criminalization of demonstrations. . . . In addition to committing widespread human rights abuses, Maduro's regime has mismanaged the economy and engaged in systemic corruption. Despite having among the world's largest oil reserves, tens of millions of Venezuelans are going hungry. . . ."). 3 5 widespread corruption. See id. ("The public is enraged by shortages of everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, by inflation approaching 200% and by rampant corruption and crime."). Prior to and during the conspiracy, the defendants participated in additional corrupt conduct that was itself astonishing in scope, including soliciting million-dollar bribes from drug traffickers and debtors of Venezuela's state-owned oil company as well as conspiring to engage in acts of violence. (See Govt. Sentencing Mem. at 8-15). As the Government has already explained, in light of this conduct and under Section 3553(a), the seriousness of the offense and the importance of promoting respect for the law support substantial terms of incarceration and fines. (See id. at 62-76). II. The Defendants Continue to Ignore the Record of Their Extensive Criminal Conduct The defendants' most recent submissions reflect dogged persistence in their efforts to ignore the evidentiary record developed during the trial and thus far at sentencing. These contentions should once again be rejected. The DEA's investigation is not a mitigating consideration at sentencing. The Court has already noted that it "cannot agree" with the argument that the defendants "were induced to commit the crime." United States v. Campo Flores, No. 15 Cr. 765 (PAC), 2017 WL 1133430, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2017); see also id. (referring to "evidence that Defendants sought to coordinate a similar drug trafficking arrangement with an individual identified as Pepe"). Moreover, "[t]here was significant evidence of Defendants' ready response to any inducement, and thus of Defendants' willingness to commit the charged crime." Id. at *4. The defendants continue to make superlative claims regarding CS-1 and CS-2, but those men will be sentenced separately and their crimes do not mitigate, offset, or counterbalance the need for substantial terms of 4 5 imprisonment in this case. The defendants also claim that the DEA's decision to arrest the defendants in Haiti instead of "wait[ing] to see if [they] could actually produce the drugs that were at the heart of the sting" was "contrary to everything we know about the way law enforcement typically conducts sting operations." (Campo Ltr. at 1). It is unclear who the "we" refers to in that argument, and Campo declines to identify the "sting operations" he or "we" view as "typical[]." (Id.). But permitting the defendants—for whom arrest warrants had been issued in this District—to leave Haiti and return to Venezuela would have allowed them to avoid accountability for their crimes, since Venezuela lacks an extradition agreement with the United States. Thus, there is nothing about the timing of the defendants' arrests, which resulted in a jury convicting them for violations of U.S. law in a U.S. court, that suggests the defendants are entitled to leniency. The defendants also assert that the Guidelines in this case are "driven overwhelmingly by the quantity set for [a] fake drug deal" and "strongly dispute" the characterization that they "determined the amount of the deal." (Flores Ltr. at 4).3 The objection has been duly noted. The Court, however, has also rejected it, reasoning that the drug quantity "was driven by the amount of money that the two defendants wanted for engaging in the drug transactions, the money drove the drugs. . . ." (Oct. 5, 2017 Tr. at 6-7).4 Thus, the so-called stash-house sting cases cited by the 3 Each defendant incorporated by reference his co-defendant's sentencing contentions. 4 Notwithstanding this clear ruling, Flores boldly claims: "[T]here can be no question that the evidence fails to establish even by a preponderance that it was the Defendants, and not the informants, who set the amount of the supposed drug deal." (Flores Ltr. at 4 (emphasis added)). 5 5 defendants have little, if any, persuasive value—especially