and Submitted November 14, 2018 San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court No.
4:16-cr-01667-RCC-DTF-2 for the District of Arizona Raner C.
Collins, District Judge, Presiding
Edith Cunningham (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender;
Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender; Office of the Federal
Public Defender, Tucson, Arizona; for Defendant-Appellant.
Lally Miskell (argued), Chief, Appellate Section; Elizabeth
A. Strange, First Assistant United States Attorney; United
States Attorney's Office, Tucson, Arizona; for
Before: Susan P. Graber and Mark J. Bennett, Circuit Judges,
and Leslie E. Kobayashi, [*] District Judge.
panel affirmed the district court's order of forfeiture
of $1, 235 in the form of a money judgment against a
defendant who pleaded guilty to attempted smuggling of
ammunition from the United States into Mexico.
panel held that the government properly sought criminal
forfeiture because 18 U.S.C. § 924(d) authorizes civil
forfeiture of property, and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c) permits
the government to seek criminal forfeiture whenever civil
forfeiture is available and the defendant pleads guilty to
the offense giving rise to the forfeiture.
panel held that § 2461(c) authorizes the forfeiture of
substitute property because 21 U.S.C. § 853(p), the
substitute-property provision in the statute that authorizes
forfeiture in connection with certain federal drug offenses,
is one of the 21 U.S.C. § 853 "procedures"
incorporated by reference in § 2461(c).
panel held that the district court properly ordered the
defendant to forfeit substitute property pursuant to §
853(p) because the defendant's acts and omissions caused
the ammunition to be transferred to a third party.
GRABER, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Priscilla Daydee Valdez pleaded guilty to attempted smuggling
of ammunition from the United States into Mexico. The
ammunition is subject to forfeiture under 18 U.S.C. §
924(d) but, because Defendant had caused the ammunition to be
transferred to a third party, the government instead sought
forfeiture of substitute property under 21 U.S.C. §
853(p) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c). The district court
agreed that the criminal laws authorize forfeiture of
substitute property in these circumstances, and the court
ordered Defendant and a co-defendant each to pay a personal
money judgment for half the value of the ammunition.
Defendant timely appeals. Reviewing de novo the
interpretation of the federal forfeiture statutes, United
States v. 25445 via Dona Christa, 138 F.3d 403, 407 (9th
Cir. 1998), amended by 170 F.3d 1161 (9th Cir.
1999), we conclude that the district court properly ordered
forfeiture of substitute property. Accordingly, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
pleaded guilty, without a plea agreement, to one count of
knowingly attempting to export 10, 000 rounds of ammunition,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 554(a). She stipulated to
the following facts:
Prior to March 3, 2016, an acquaintance asked Priscilla
Valdez if she was willing to purchase ammunition and drive it
to Nogales, Arizona. Ms. Valdez did not agree to commit the
offense, but gave this acquaintance's contact information
to an individual she knew-Anhelika Ruiz.
Shortly before March 3, 2016, Ms. Ruiz asked Ms. Valdez to
help and accompany her regarding the ammunition purchase. Ms.
Valdez agreed. Prior to the offense, Ms. Valdez picked up a
quantity of cash from the acquaintance, for the ammunition
On or about March 3, 2016, Ms. Valdez and Ms. Ruiz met in
Tucson. Ms. Valdez gave Ms. Ruiz the money she had been
given. Ms. Ruiz rented a car, in her own name.
They then drove to a gun store in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Ruiz
purchased 10, 000 rounds of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition at the gun
store, using the money that Ms. Valdez had provided her. The
ammunition was loaded into the rented car. Ms. Ruiz ...