USA v. Chilon Mitchell
Per Curiam OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Ronald Lee Gilman, Circuit Judge; John M. Rogers, Circuit Judge and Jane Branstetter Stranch, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 11a0719n.06
Oct 19, 2011
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CHILON CLYDE MITCHELL,
LEONARD GREEN, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF
Before: GILMAN, ROGERS, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Chilon Clyde Mitchell appeals the district court’s judgment of conviction
A jury found Mitchell guilty of distribution of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1), possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1),
being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i). The
district court sentenced him to an effective prison term of 120 months.
On appeal, Mitchell argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for
possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. We review de novo a challenge to
the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a criminal conviction. United States v. Fisher, 648 F.3d
-2442, 450 (6th Cir. 2011). “The relevant inquiry is whether, ‘viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt.’” Id. (quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979))
(emphasis in original). “To prove the possession was in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime,
the Government must show a specific nexus between the gun and the crime charged and that the
firearm was strategically located so that it is quickly and easily available for use.” United States v.
Ham, 628 F.3d 801, 808 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Other factors to
consider include: (1) whether the gun was loaded, (2) the type of weapon, (3) the legality of its
possession, (4) the type of drug activity conducted, and (5) the time and circumstances under which
the firearm was found.” Id. at 808-09 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The prosecution presented evidence that Mitchell acknowledged that he was the only person
who lived at the residence where the firearms were discovered and that they belonged to him. One
of the firearms was found in the same nightstand as a large amount of cash and near a distribution
amount of crack cocaine. The other two firearms were discovered under the kitchen table in a bag
that contained drug-distribution paraphernalia, and it appeared that powder cocaine had been cooked
into crack cocaine on the kitchen table. An officer testified that the firearms in the bag were readily
accessible to a person working at the kitchen table. All of the firearms were loaded handguns and,
because Mitchell was a convicted felon, his possession of them was illegal. Further, officers had
conducted a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from Mitchell at his residence and, shortly before
the search that resulted in the discovery of the firearms, an officer observed short-term activity at the
residence and Mitchell engaging in hand-to-hand transactions on his porch, all of which was
-3indicative of drug trafficking. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution,
a rational trier of fact could have concluded that Mitchell possessed a firearm in furtherance of a
Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
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