United States District Court, S.D. California
WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.
The matter before the Court is the Appeal to the District Court Judge regarding the denial of bond by the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 23) filed by Defendant Lucy Robledo.
On March 26, 2014, Defendant Robledo was arrested with Stephanie Rojas at the Port of Entry. At the time of the arrest, Stephanie Rojas made a statement to Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent B. Trammel. Robledo and Rojas were charged by Information in Criminal Case No. 14 CR 1108 WQH with importation of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952 and 960. On April 3, 2014, the Magistrate Judge set bond conditions for Defendant Robledo at a $40, 000.00 personal appearance bond with signature of two owners of property via trust deed.
On August 12, 2014, Stephanie Rojas entered a plea of guilty to the charge of importation of methamphetamine without a plea agreement in Criminal Case No. 14 CR 1108 WQH.
On August 14, 2014, the grand jury returned an Indictment in this case charging Defendant Robledo in Count 1 with importation of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952 and 960 and in Count 2 with attempted retaliation against a witness in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1513(b)(2). Count 2 of the Indictment charged:
Beginning on or about March 26, 2014 and continuing to on or about August 12, 2014, within the Southern District of California, and elsewhere, defendant LUCY ROBLEDO, did knowingly attempt to threaten to engage in conduct which would cause bodily injury to Stephanie Rojas, to wit, directing individuals known and unknown to the Grand Jury to physically harm and threaten to physically harm Stephanie Rojas, with the intent to retaliate against Stephanie Rojas for giving information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense, to wit, importation of methamphetamine, a Schedule II Controlled Substance, into the United States from a place outside thereof, to Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent B. Trammell, a law enforcement officer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1513(b)(2).
(ECF No. 1 at 2).
On August 19, 2014, Defendant Robledo was arraigned on the charges in this case and the Magistrate Judge set the same bond as previously set in 14 CR 1108 WQH.
On August 19, 2014, the Government filed a motion to dismiss the Information in Criminal Case No. 14 CR 1108 WQH against Defendant Robledo. Counsel for the Government informed the Court that the Government did not have sufficient evidence to proceed on the drug importation charge against Defendant Robledo.
On September 11, 2014, defense counsel in this case requested a further bond hearing with the Magistrate Judge. Defense counsel asserted that the Government's admission that it could not prove the drug charge against Defendant Robledo constituted a change in circumstances and requested that the Court release Defendant on her own signature. Defendant counsel asserted that Defendant was pregnant, that Defendant had no surety, and that the remaining charge of attempted witness retaliation carried a high end guideline range "18-month sentence." (ECF No. 27 at 5).
The Government opposed the request to modify the bond and recounted the following facts to the Magistrate Judge:
Ms. Robledo and her original co-Defendant, Ms. Rojas, were arrested at the port of entry with a load of narcotics. Ms. Rojas gave a statement immediately post-arrest admitting the elements of the offense and saying that she had recruited Ms. Robledo to join her in the endeavor, and that Ms. Robledo's role was to essentially be cover or camouflage. They thought it would be less suspicious to have two people in the vehicle than one.
While M. Robledo was in custody, she - she placed a series of recorded jail calls, in one of which in particular the gentleman on the other end of the call, who we believe, like Ms. Robledo, to be associated with the Eighteenth Street Gang in Los Angeles, said - and I'm not going to get it exactly right, but said, I'm going to tell you this fast because of the recording. I talked to Smiley. ...