Submitted January 16, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - Cape Girardeau.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Carrie Costantin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO.
Esad Bekric, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Eden, TX.
For Esad Bekric, Defendant - Appellant: Scott Tilsen, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Cape Girardeau, MO.
Before LOKEN, MELLOY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
A jury convicted Esad Bekric of Possession with Intent to Distribute Fifty Kilograms or More of Marijuana, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a). Bekric appeals, arguing the district court improperly admitted evidence of a prior arrest that did not result in a prosecution and improperly excluded as hearsay certain testimony that should have been allowed. Because evidence of the prior arrest tended to prove knowledge, intent, planning, and modus operandi, and because the excluded testimony was hearsay, we affirm.
In 2012, officers in Texas stopped Bekric while he was driving a semi tractor pulling a trailer. The trailer, not owned by Bekric, was discovered to have a false wall concealing 1,970 pounds of marijuana custom-wrapped in bundles to fit specific voids behind the wall. Officers arrested Bekric, but prosecutors declined to pursue charges.
In 2013, while driving his own semi tractor pulling his own trailer in Missouri, Bekric exited a highway upon seeing signs indicating he was approaching a drug checkpoint. After he left the highway, officers stopped him for a traffic violation. Bekric claimed to have left the highway due to difficulties with a refrigeration system on his trailer. He also claimed to have documentation of certain repairs. The officer could determine from conditions on the scene--a functional refrigeration system and documents that did not support Bekric's assertions--that Bekric was not telling the truth. During the traffic stop, a drug dog alerted to Bekric's
trailer. Officers then searched the trailer and discovered 198 pounds of marijuana custom-wrapped in packages to fit ...