On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Criminal Nos. 85-00153-02 and 85-00153-03
Before: ADAMS, WEIS and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.
The primary question presented in these consolidated criminal appeals is whether the government's involvement in the commission of the offenses for which defendants were convicted was so outrageous as to violate their right to due process.
Defendants John Ward. Steven Keiper and John Bedekovic were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 20,000 pounds of marijuana. 21 U.S.C. §§ 84 (a) (1), 846 (1982). In addition, Ward was charged with two counts and Keiper with one count of interstate travel to facilitate unlawful activity, 18 U.S.C. § 1952 (1982), and Ward was charged with three counts of illegal use of a communications facility to execute the unlawful conspiracy, 21 U.S.C. § 843 (b) (1982). Bedekovic pleaded guilty on the first day of trial and testified on behalf of the government. Ward and Keiper admitted all elements of the offenses charged, but asserted an entrapment defense. The jury rejected this defense and convicted Ward and Keiper on all charges.
On appeal, Ward and Keiper do not contest the jury's verdict regarding entrapment. Rather, they insist that the district court erred in refusing to dismiss the indictment on the ground that law enforcement conduct in this case violated due process as a matter of law. Defendants also assert objections to certain evidence introduced at trial. Since we do not find these contentions meritorious, we will affirm.
The evidence produced at trial showed that the marijuana distribution scheme originated in December 1984, when Bedekovic was an inmate at the federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. A fellow prisoner, Jack Goepfert, was an FBI informant. According to Bedekovic, Goepfert approached him and proposed to finance a marijuana distribution endeavor, to be operated by friends of Bedekovic who were not incarcerated. Informant Goepfert testified that Bedekovic, not he, initiated the discussion of illegal activities.
Goepfert explained without contradiction that Bedekovic told him that Bedekovic's associates could handle the distribution of up to 3,000 pounds of marijuana per week. Goepfert imparted this information to an FBI special agent, and on January 24, 1985, the agent, posing as a drug dealer, met at Allenwood with Goepfert, Bedekovic, and Bedekovic's fried, defendant Ward. The special agent later turned the case over to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel, who continued the negotiations.
After numerous telephone calls, Bedekovic induced another fried to join the conspiracy: defendant Keiper. Keiper's role would be to drive a truck containing the marijuana from Panama City, Florida to a "safehouse" in western Pennsylvania.
Over subsequent months, Ward paid the DEA agents $30,000 in requested seed money to finance the smuggling operation, made many trips to Allenwood to talk to Bedekovic, and, along with Keiper, travelled in Ward's plane to inspect the safehouse where the marijuana was to be stored. Defendants also inspected the DEA location in Florida, which included landing strips, docking facilities, and other accoutrements of an organized smuggling operation.
The final plan called for the DEA agents to sell 20,000 pounds of marijuana to defendants, in return for $5.8 million to be paid over a two-week period. On march 24, 1985, Ward and Keiper met the putative drug suppliers in Florida to consummate the transaction. After Ward sampled and expressed his satisfaction with the contraband, he and Keiper was arrested.
Other evidence introduced at trial showed that the Allenwood arrangement was not the only participation in drug trafficking by the defendants. It was established, through Ward's own admissions taped during the course of the conspiracy as well as through other testimony, that he had engaged in major drug deals regularly for at least ten years. Keiper admitted at trial that he ...