FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW
HAMPSHIRE [Hon. Joseph N. Laplante, U.S. District Judge]
Stanley W. Norkunas on brief for appellant.
Gray Rice, United States Attorney, and Seth R. Aframe,
Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.
Howard, Chief Judge, Selya and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
Ryan Demers asserts both that the sentencing court made an
erroneous drug-quantity determination and that, in all
events, the sentence imposed was substantively unreasonable.
After careful consideration, we affirm the appellant's
this appeal follows a guilty plea, "we glean the
relevant facts from the change-of-plea colloquy, the
unchallenged portions of the presentence investigation report
(PSI Report), and the record of the disposition
hearing." United States v. Vargas, 560 F.3d 45,
47 (1st Cir. 2009).
August 7, 2014, law enforcement officers initiated
surveillance of the appellant as part of an ongoing
investigation into the illegal distribution of oxycodone
pills in and around Manchester, New Hampshire by José
Nuñez, Jennifer Nuñez, and Johanna Nuñez
(collectively the Nuñez consortium), as well as Samuel
Garcia. The surveillance led to the appellant's arrest on
September 2, 2014. After waiving his Miranda rights,
see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444-45 (1966),
the appellant confessed to illegally purchasing pills from
the Nuñez consortium, Garcia, and another vendor named
William Alba for roughly two years. The appellant stated that
he recently had been purchasing around 100 to 200 pills every
other day, though he originally had purchased smaller
quantities. He explained in some detail the purchasing
process and price points involved.
was also apprehended. He told the authorities that he had
supplied the appellant with oxycodone for approximately 12 to
18 months before the appellant's arrest. He recalled that
the appellant had at first bought smaller amounts, but
increased his purchases to around 400 or 500 pills per week
after he established his own customer base.
Nuñez, also in custody, stated that "Brian"
(reasonably believed to be the appellant) was one of her
biggest customers. She recalled supplying him with 80 to 100
pills at a crack. In addition, Alba identified the appellant
as a person to whom José Nuñez regularly sold
wholesale batches of pills.
September 17, 2014, a federal grand jury sitting in the
District of New Hampshire returned a two-count indictment,
charging the appellant - and only the appellant - with
conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance (oxycodone)
and distribution of that controlled substance. See 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846. After some procedural
maneuvering (not relevant here), the appellant entered a
straight guilty plea to both counts.
Report set the appellant's base offense level at 32
premised on a finding that he had distributed approximately
200 30-milligram oxycodone pills per week for a period of 18
months. See USSG §2D1.1(c)(4) (Drug Quantity
Table). The appellant objected to this drug-quantity
calculation, beseeching the court to shorten the time frame
to 12 months and reduce the weekly allotment of pills to
reflect pills purchased for personal
sentencing court convened the disposition hearing on
September 22, 2015. It rejected the appellant's request
to trim the time frame for the drug-quantity calculation from
18 months to 12 months, citing the appellant's own
admission that he had been purchasing oxycodone for roughly
two years. The court then stated that it was unpersuaded that
the appellant was "only trafficking to feed his own
habit." Even so, the court took account of the
appellant's personal use of oxycodone by reducing his
base offense level from 32 to 30.
some further offsets (not relevant here), the court set the
appellant's total offense level at 25, and placed him in
Criminal History Category I. This produced a guideline
sentencing range (GSR) of 57 to 71 months. The appellant
argued for a downwardly variant sentence of 28 months.
government objected, pointing to the large volumes of drugs
trafficked by the appellant. The government added that New
Hampshire's serious opiate problem warranted particularly
strong deterrence ...