from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Texas
SMITH, DENNIS, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.
E. SMITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Torres-Magana pleaded guilty of conspiracy to possess with
intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. He
appeals, contending that the district court clearly erred in
enhancing his sentence under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines
Manual ("U.S.S.G.") § 2D1.1(b)(15)(A) (U.S.
Sentencing Comm'n 2016). Finding no clear error, we
led a drug-trafficking organization that delivered cocaine
across the country. He and his wife, Patricia Torres, met
with a man in October of 2016 to arrange cocaine deliveries.
That man was an undercover federal agent.
two months later, Torres-Magana called his stepson, Alfonso
Govea, Jr. (hereinafter "Govea"), and asked Govea
to meet with him and Mrs. Torres, Govea's mother. When
they met, Mrs. Torres demanded that Govea meet with the
agent. But Govea refused because "he knew it was
something illegal" and wanted nothing to do with it.
Displeased, Torres-Magana and Mrs. Torres argued with Govea.
few days later, Torres-Magana again tried to solicit Govea.
He called Govea and told him that he had "an
emergency" and needed to take Mrs. Torres to a cancer
treatment appointment. He asked Govea to deliver a box of
cocaine that he had left outside Govea's house. He
implored Govea, stating that he had "never asked
anything" from him and that he and Mrs. Torres would
otherwise have delivered the box themselves. Again, Govea
refused, driving to Torres-Magana's house and arguing
further with the couple about their attempts to involve Govea
in the illegal delivery. But at long last, the stepson agreed
to deliver the box of cocaine.
Govea was reluctant to participate in the drug delivery, he
was involved in other ways with the drug organization.
Indeed, he and Mrs. Torres co-owned businesses that laundered
the drug proceeds.
was arrested and pleaded guilty of conspiracy to possess
cocaine with intent to distribute it, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 846 & 841(a)(1). Among other
enhancements, the revised presentence investigation report
("PSR") recommended a two-level enhancement under
§ 2D1.1(b)(15)(A), because Torres-Magana had "used
fear, impulse, friendship, affection, or some combination
thereof" to involve Govea in the controlled-substance
offense. The PSR pointed out that Torres-Magana had argued
with Govea "on several occasions while trying to
convince him to participate in one of [his] drug-trafficking
ventures." What's more, Torres-Magana had pressured
Govea to participate by telling him that Torres-Magana needed
to take Mrs. Torres (Govea's mother) to a cancer
treatment appointment instead of delivering the box of
cocaine himself. And "there [wa]s no indication Govea
received compensation for his participation, nor that he had
knowledge of the scope and structure of the enterprise."
objected to an enhancement under § 2D1.1(b)(15)(A). He
averred that the evidence did not suggest that Govea had only
minimal knowledge of the drug enterprise's scope and
structure-even if Govea concededly had "minimal
involvement" with it. Instead, the evidence supported
the inference that Govea "was, at best, willfully
blind" to the details of the drug enterprise. Surely
Govea would not have been entrusted to deliver a box of a
large amount of cocaine alone and unsupervised if Govea
lacked "substantial knowledge" of the underlying
enterprise. Torres-Magana also vaguely referenced Govea's
co-ownership of a business with Govea's mother, Mrs.
Torres. And Torres-Magana asserted that an enhancement was
unwarranted because "no one received remuneration from
this particular shipment."
district court overruled Torres-Magana's objection and
applied the enhancement. The court noted that it could rely
on the PSR in deciding whether the enhancement applied and
that Torres-Magana had refused to put on any evidence outside
of what was already in the record.
on an offense level of 35 and a criminal-history category of
I, the guidelines recommended 168 to 210 months'
imprisonment. After considering Torres-Magana's
presentation, the guidelines, and the 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a) factors, the court sentenced Torres-Magana to 172
months. Torres-Magana objected to "each of
the defense objections that the [c]ourt overruled" and
"to the overall sentence in light of [18 U.S.C. §]