It Takes Two to Tango | Can a Person be convicted for Conspiring With a Government Informant?
In this U.S. v. Delgado, the Defendant-Appellant, Maria Aide Delgado, was convicted of
- possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and
- conspiracy to commit the same offense.
She was sentenced to a concurrent term of 100 months imprisonment for each conviction. Delgado appealed, complaining that she shouldn’t be convicted for Conspiracy if she was Conspiring With a Government Informant.
The Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a conspiracy charge in the indictment because the government failed to introduce sufficient evidence to establish that the Appellant entered into a conspiracy with anyone other than a government informant. While it takes at least two people to form a conspiracy, an agreement must exist among co-conspirators who actually intend to carry out the agreed upon criminal plan. A defendant cannot be criminally liable for conspiring solely with an undercover government agent or a government informant, therefore, evidence of any agreement Delgado had with the government informant cannot support a conspiracy conviction.