Weinstein Law Blog

Monday, November 6, 2017

Set Up By The Government

Can the Government Set Someone Up?

Yes.  The government regularly fabricates crimes.   One of the most common government created “crimes” employed by the Federal Government is a fabricated robbery of fictitious “stash houses.”  This is a trick that has been used by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and other law agencies with great success since the 1980s, despite that is constitute outrageous Government conduct.

What is a Stash House?

Virtually all stash house robberies have two common themes:

  1. a paid snitch seeks out vulnerable targets (usually poor, uneducated, minority men - many without any prior criminal record) with fairy-tale promises of great wealth and easy pickings to help rob a private, lightly-guarded home where huge stashes of drugs are being stored; and
  2. Once the marks arrive at the non-existent stash house they are immediately arrested by waiting Federal agents and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of drugs that is always stipulated by the Government agents - and always in amounts to assure that the “crime” will trigger at least a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

I Was Set Up, What Now?

You must obtain a lawyer who actually knows what he is doing.  Recently, Courts throughout the country – when pushed by knowledgeable defense counsel – have been setting decision to help combat this despicable governmental practice.

In U.S. v. Washington, 869 F.3d 193 (3rd Cir. 2017), a panel from the Third Circuit routinely rejected a claim of sentencing factor manipulation based on the Government's arbitrary decision to charge the defendant with five (fictitious) kilos of cocaine - an amount that conveniently triggered a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

In a powerful dissent, Judge Theodore Mckee picked apart the underpinnings of such Government created crimes, and generally condemned a practice that not only risks ensnaring "those who otherwise might not have committed crimes, but also . . . gives rise to particularly dubious applications of the Sentencing Guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences."

Furthermore, in U.S. v. Flowers, No. 15-3988 (6th Cir. Oct. 24, 2017) (Unpublished) (Per Curiam) the Sixth Circuit is noted for Circuit Judge Jane Stranch's equally powerful concurring opinion in which she lashed out against the Government's continued use of staged, "stash house" sting operations which give the Government the "virtually unfettered ability to inflate the amount of drugs supposedly in the [stash] house and thereby obtain a greater sentence for the defendant" and which, "in the overwhelming number of stash house sting operations" target African Americans and minorities from impoverished areas.

In the end, only an experienced and strong advocate will truly be able to help you.



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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.