Submitted December 17, 2018 [*] San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court No.
4:16-cr-00478-JGZ-LAB-19 for the District of Arizona Jennifer
G. Zipps, District Judge, Presiding
Bates Butler III, Tucson, Arizona, for Defendant-Appellant.
L. Miskell, Chief, Appellate Section; Elizabeth A. Strange,
First Assistant United States Attorney; United States
Attorney's Office, Tucson, Arizona; for
Before: Ronald Lee Gilman, [**] Richard A. Paez, and John B.
Owens, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's forfeiture order in a
case in which the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of
attempting to export ammunition from the United States, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 554, and one count of
conspiracy to export firearms and ammunition, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 371.
panel rejected the defendant's argument that forfeiture
is unavailable in this case because §§ 371 and
554(a) are not expressly mentioned in the federal forfeiture
statute. The panel held that the district court did not err
in ordering forfeiture because 18 U.S.C. § 924(d)(1)
authorizes forfeiture of firearms and ammunition involved in
a federal crime.
panel held that, under 21 U.S.C. § 853(p), the district
court did not err in ordering the forfeiture of substitute
property up to the value of ammunition that the defendant had
transferred to a coconspirator.
panel held that because the defendant did not challenge the
adequacy of the notice of forfeiture in the indictment before
the district court or in her opening brief, the challenge
(first raised in her reply brief) is not reviewable. The
panel wrote that even if the adequacy of the notice were
reviewable, the district court did not commit plain error
regarding the adequacy of the notice.
GILMAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Bridget Soto, along with 20 other defendants, was indicted
for crimes relating to a conspiracy to illegally export
firearms and ammunition from the United States to Mexico. She
pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export
ammunition from the United States and to one count of
conspiracy to export firearms and ammunition. Soto argues
that the district court's forfeiture order was improper
because the crimes for which she was convicted do not
authorize forfeiture. She also contends that the notice of
forfeiture in the indictment was inadequate because it cited
an inapplicable statutory provision. For the reasons set
forth below, we AFFIRM the district
court's forfeiture order.
investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations uncovered a
conspiracy in which the participants purchased firearms and
ammunition in the United States and illegally smuggled those
items into Mexico. The investigation determined that the
conspiracy involved at least 70 firearms and approximately
74, 880 rounds of ammunition.
purchased and transported ammunition on at least two
occasions. In December 2015, she purchased 28, 500 rounds of
ammunition in Phoenix, Arizona. She then transported the
ammunition to the United States-Mexico border and provided it
to a coconspirator. In January 2016, she purchased 26, 000
more rounds of ammunition in Phoenix. Agents arrested Soto
while she was transporting this second purchase of ammunition
south towards the border.