USA v. Thacker

OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT of SENTENCING HEARING as to Timothy R. Thacker for dates of August 6, 2019 before District Judge James C. Dever III, regarding [38] Notice of Appeal - Final Judgment Court Reporter/Transcriber Amy M. Condon. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. Does this satisfy all appellate orders for this reporter? - Yes. Please review Attorney obligations regarding the redaction of electronic transcripts of court proceedings available on the court's website. Redaction Request due 12/9/2019. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 12/19/2019. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 2/16/2020. (Condon, A.)

Eastern District of North Carolina, nced-7:2018-cr-00095-164111

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA SOUTHERN DIVISION ________________________________) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA))) 7:18-CR-95-1D vs.) 7:18-CR-115-1D) TIMOTHY R. THACKER,) Defendant.) ________________________________) AUGUST 6, 2019 SENTENCING HEARING BEFORE THE HONORABLE JAMES C. DEVER III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE APPEARANCES: On Behalf of the Government: BRAD KNOTT, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY U.S. Attorney's Office 150 Fayetteville Street, Suite 2100 Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 On Behalf of the Defendant: DAMON CHETSON, Esq. The Chetson Firm, PLLC 19 West Hargett Street, Suite 508 Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 AMY M. CONDON, CRR, RPR, CSR Official Court Reporter United States District Court Raleigh, North Carolina Stenotype with computer-aided transcription 0 2 I N D E X GOVERNMENT'S WITNESSES KEVIN PERRY Direct Examination by Mr. Knott 6 Cross-Examination by Mr. Chetson 13 TONY DiGIOVANNI Direct Examination by Mr. Knott 16 0 3 1 (Tuesday, August 6, 2019, commencing at 2:19 p.m.) 2 P R O C E E D I N G S 3 THE COURT: We'll next take up the sentencing of 4 Mr. Thacker. 5 (Pause in the proceeding.) 6 THE COURT: Good afternoon, Mr. Chetson and 7 Mr. Thacker. Is the defense ready? 8 MR. CHETSON: Yes, Your Honor, we are. 9 THE COURT: Good afternoon, Mr. Knott. Is the 10 Government ready? 11 MR. KNOTT: Yes, Your Honor. 12 THE COURT: At this time I'd ask that Mr. Thacker be 13 sworn or affirmed. 14 (The defendant, Timothy R. Thacker, was duly sworn.) 15 THE COURT: Mr. Thacker, do you understand that 16 having been sworn, that your answers to my questions are 17 subject to the penalty of perjury; and if you were to lie to 18 me, you could be prosecuted for perjury or for making a false 19 statement, sir? 20 THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir. 21 THE COURT: Have you taken any kind of medicine or 22 any other substance in the last 48 hours that would affect your 23 ability to hear and understand this proceeding? 24 THE DEFENDANT: No, sir. 25 THE COURT: Do you know why you're here today? 0 4 1 THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do. 2 THE COURT: Mr. Chetson, do you have any reason to 3 doubt Mr. Thacker's competence to go forward today? 4 MR. CHETSON: I do not, Your Honor. 5 THE COURT: Does the Government have any reason to 6 doubt Mr. Thacker's competence to go forward today? 7 MR. KNOTT: No, Your Honor. 8 THE COURT: Based on Mr. Thacker's answers to my 9 questions, my observations of Mr. Thacker and the answers from 10 counsel, I find that he is competent to go forward here today. 11 Mr. Thacker, you're here today having entered a plea 12 of guilty to two charges. The first charge is conspiracy to 13 possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a 14 mixture and substance containing methamphetamine. That is in 15 case number 718-CR-95D-001. 16 The second charge is conspiracy to possess with 17 intent to distribute 500 grams of a mixture and substance 18 containing methamphetamine. Case number 718-CR-1 15D-001. The 19 time periods are different in connection with the crimes to 20 which you pleaded guilty. 21 In light of some cases from the Supreme Court of the 22 United States, including the Booker, Rita, Gall, Kimbrough, 23 Spears and Nelson cases, the sentencing guidelines are no 24 longer mandatory; they're advisory. 25 Nevertheless, in accordance with those cases and 0 5 1 numerous cases from the Fourth Circuit interpreting them, 2 including the Carter, Pauley, and Evans cases, a sentencing 3 Court still must take into account the now-advisory guidelines. 4 The Court does this by initially making findings of 5 fact and calculating an advisory guideline range. I'll then 6 consider any motion that might be made that might move the 7 range either up or down. I'll then consider all arguments that 8 Mr. Chetson makes on your behalf, any statement you'd like to 9 make, sir, and all arguments of the Assistant United States 10 Attorney. I'll then determine your sentence and I'll announce 11 it here in court today. That'll be the process we'll follow. 12 Mr. Chetson, did you receive a copy of the 13 presentence report? 14 MR. CHETSON: I did, Your Honor. 15 THE COURT: Mr. Thacker, did you speak with 16 Mr. Chetson about the presentence report? 17 THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir. 18 THE COURT: At this time, the Court directs that the 19 presentence report be placed in the record under seal. 20 In accordance with Rule 32 of the Federal Rules of 21 Criminal Procedure, the Court accepts as accurate the 22 presentence report, except as to matters in dispute as set 23 forth in the addendum. 24 I have reviewed the entire report, including the 25 addendum. The addendum does contain some objections. 0 6 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 We'll go through those, Mr. Chetson. 2 So the first objection is just that he says his given 3 name is Tim, not Timothy? 4 MR. CHETSON: Yes, Your Honor. I think the only 5 guideline objection would be number five, but... 6 THE COURT: Okay. And that's to the drug weight? 7 MR. CHETSON: Yes, Your Honor. I don't need to be 8 heard further about that. 9 THE COURT: Does the Government want to put on any 10 evidence on that? 11 MR. KNOTT: We would, Your Honor. At this point the 12 United States would call Mr. Kevin Perry to the stand. 13 THE COURT: All right. 14 KEVIN PERRY, 15 having been duly sworn, testified as follows: 16 THE COURT: Good afternoon Agent Perry. 17 You may examine the witness. 18 MR. KNOTT: Thank you, Your Honor. 19 DIRECT EXAMINATION 20 BY MR. KNOTT: 21 Q. Mr. Perry, can you briefly describe for the Court where 22 you work. 23 A. I work for the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, and I'm 24 assigned as a full-time task force officer with the ATF. 25 Q. Have you had significant experience investigating a wide 0 7 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 variety of crimes to include drug trafficking crimes? 2 A. Yes. I was also previously sworn as a full-time DEA task 3 force officer. 4 Q. Have you become familiar in the course of your law 5 enforcement career, sir, with investigating methamphetamine and 6 crystal methamphetamine? 7 A. Yes, I have. 8 Q. Through the course of your investigation, sir, have you 9 come across an individual by the name of Mr. Tim Thacker, the 10 defendant before the Court today? 11 A. Yes, I have. 12 Q. Can you briefly describe for the Court how you came across 13 Mr. Thacker? 14 A. He was identified by Amanda Burch as being a source of 15 supply for crystal methamphetamine. 16 Q. And what was the context of this association between Ms. 17 Burch and Mr. Thacker? 18 A. Well, on November 17th, Ms. Burch was found with a large 19 quantity -- it ended up being in total over 600 grams of 20 crystal meth. When she was advised of her rights, she gave a 21 statement and she identified Mr. Thacker as the person that she 22 had received that meth from. 23 Q. Did she identify a photograph of Mr. Thacker? 24 A. Later on she did. 25 Q. Did she provide a phone number for Mr. Thacker? 0 8 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 A. Yes. Her phone was seized that day and his number was in 2 there. 3 Q. And what was the nature of their relationship, Mr. Perry? 4 A. Essentially, Ms. Burch was sent to Mr. Thacker's residence 5 by Tony Chevallier who was involved in a Sampson County 6 organization that we had investigated. She went out to 7 Mr. Thacker's residence at Mr. Chevallier's direction to pick 8 up meth and bring back to her residence in Sampson County. 9 Q. What was Mr. Thacker's role, as you understood it, to be 10 with -- not only with Ms. Burch but with Mr. Chevallier? 11 A. At that time I didn't know really what it was. However, 12 further investigation revealed that Mr. Thacker would actually 13 go out and pick up meth from out of state and bring it back. 14 Q. And what particular state, do you remember? 15 A. Georgia. 16 Q. Okay. And was there any sort of discussion in the course 17 of your investigation about the quantities that Mr. Thacker 18 would be involved in retrieving for Mr. Chevallier down in 19 Georgia? 20 A. Yes. Mr. Thacker was actually interviewed on April 23rd, 21 and that was April 23rd of 2018. I interviewed Mr. Thacker. 22 He detailed a -- that he, a subject, Mr. Barkley, Eric Barkley, 23 would travel to Columbus, Georgia to get meth for 24 Mr. Chevallier. 25 Q. And what was roughly the quantities associated? 0 9 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 A. He stated that Barkley made one trip that he knew of 2 beforehand where he got 13 ounces of meth, and then Mr. Thacker 3 said he went with Barkley on a second trip to Columbus, Georgia 4 where they got a total of 29 ounces. He said that there was -- 5 the first trip that Barkley made where he got the 13 ounces, 6 13 ounces was a low quality and so the source of supply down in 7 Georgia gave them an additional 13 ounces to replace the 8 low-quality meth that they received previously. 9 And then he said that he went with Mr. Barkley on a third 10 trip to Columbus; and during that trip, they got one pound of 11 meth for Tony Chevallier and then Thacker got four ounces for 12 himself on that trip. 13 Q. In regards to Ms. Burch, what role in terms of gauging the 14 quantity of methamphetamine did she play? 15 A. Ms. Burch was a user and she would actually sample the 16 methamphetamine. In fact, she talked about on one occasion 17 that she had been provided five ounces of meth from Tony 18 Chevallier and it was originally intended for her to sell, but 19 she tested it and it was a low quality and so she actually took 20 it. She was going to return it to Tony Chevallier at 21 Mr. Thacker's house; but according to her, she met with 22 Mr. Thacker along the way and turned it over to him. 23 Q. And was there any evidence from Mr. Chevallier's case that 24 led you to believe that they were, in fact, dealing with 25 crystal methamphetamine or ice? 0 10 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 A. Yes. They refer to it as ice when they talk about it. 2 The -- I know the methamphetamine that was seized during Amanda 3 Burch's incident was very large crystals, very large shards -- 4 Q. In your experience, did it appear to be crystal 5 methamphetamine? 6 A. Yes, it did. 7 Q. Did Mr. Chevallier refer to it on recorded phone calls as 8 ice when he was talking to one of his co-defendants? 9 A. Yes, he did. 10 Q. Mr. Perry, was there any discussion in your investigation 11 or evidence uncovered that dealt with wire transfers in which 12 Mr. Thacker would send money out to various parts of the 13 country in regards to trafficking methamphetamine? 14 A. Yes, sir. There was a report generated by Wal-Mart where 15 they identified a Ronald Daniels, Junior as having received 16 what they found to be 5,000 -- I'm sorry, $52,940 in wire 17 transfers between February of 2016 and July of 2018. 18 According to this report, they said the most wire 19 transfers were from Tim Thacker. 20 Q. And was there a breakdown in regards to how much money 21 Mr. Thacker was specifically sending? 22 A. According to this, the report -- this report doesn't go 23 into details total, but it does talk about some structuring of 24 two wire transfers on March -- between March 2nd and March 6th 25 there were a total of $5,000. 0 11 K. Perry - Direct Examination 1 Q. Okay. 2 A. And then the report also talks about a Eugene Ramsey -- 3 I'm sorry -- Ernest Ramsey who also transferred money to 4 Mr. Daniels totaling $2,500. 5 Q. Okay. Were there any other individuals with whom you 6 uncovered or that you discovered that dealt with Mr. Thacker in 7 regard to trafficking methamphetamine? 8 A. Yes. Mr. Thacker actually provided information on a 9 subject in addition to Mr. Daniels. He talked about a Jesus 10 and Oscar Guzman who were from Los Angeles and said they were 11 members of the Sinaloa cartel. He said Oscar Guzman would send 12 methamphetamine to three different people and he would send 13 them in three-pound quantities. 14 Then he went into details with having purchased for Ronald 15 Daniels. He said when he purchased from Mr. Daniels