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United States v. Avalos

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 24, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
Jose Avalos, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted October 23, 2015

Page 598

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Nebraska - Omaha.

         For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: John Higgins, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Nebraska, Omaha, NE.

         Jose Avalos, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Adelanto, CA.

         For Jose Avalos, Defendant - Appellant: William John Pfeffer, PFEFFER LAW OFFICES, Omaha, NE.

         Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

Page 599

          COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

         Jose Avalos was convicted of possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1). The district court[1] sentenced Avalos to 360 months' imprisonment. Avalos appeals his conviction, arguing that the court improperly admitted expert testimony and that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction. He also argues that his sentence is unreasonable. We affirm.

         I.

         The drug charge against Jose Avalos arose from a search of an apartment in February 2013. At the time, police in Council Bluffs, Iowa, were searching for Juan Avalos, Jose's brother, after Juan escaped from a halfway house. A probation officer notified police that Juan was staying with his brother in an apartment in Omaha, Nebraska.

         Officer Travis Jarzynka arrived at the apartment and observed a man who matched Juan's description exit the apartment complex, enter a vehicle, and drive away. Jarzynka stopped the car, and the driver identified himself as Jose Avalos. Jose Avalos, whom we will call " Avalos," told Jarzynka that Juan was at his apartment and provided a key to enter the apartment.

         Jarzynka and other police officers returned to the apartment and arrested Juan. During a protective sweep of the two-bedroom apartment, officers discovered a handgun and small baggie of methamphetamine in the apartment's northern bedroom. The officers suspected that this bedroom belonged to ...


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