United States v. Isnadin: Undercover Agent Told Men "You Got to **** Rob Them, Bro" -- Was It Entrapment?

March 3, 2014 by David S. Seltzer

The case of United States v. Isnadin has many in the Florida criminal defense community talking about the definition of entrapment. Here's the thrust. An undercover agent for ATF offered two appellants -- Jolens “Blunt” Cius and Kamensky Gustama -- a curious opportunity. Would they want to rob a stash house? If so, warned the agent, they better be prepared for battle. In the agent's words: "You got to **** rob them, bro."

Was that entrapment?

Cius, Gustama and Esnel Isnadin (a co-appellant) argued that they had been entrapped, and they appealed their case to Florida’s 11th Circuit on February 14, 2014 to challenge a lower court’s previous conviction.

Isnadin had been convicted on multiple criminal counts in March 2012, after he and the other men attempted to rob a stash house after chatting with an undercover Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms agent.

Isnadin’s Charges

Prosecutors charged Isnadin with conspiracy to commit an offense known as a Hobbs Act robbery as well as conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; conspiracy to use and carry a firearm in relation to a violent crime; and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In March 2012, the District Court found Isnadin guilty of a reduced cocaine possession and intent to distribute charge as well as guilty of the other three charges listed above.

Isnadin Appeals Conviction

Isnadin and co-appellants challenged the ruling, claiming entrapment. The trio also challenged the court’s decision to instruct the jury to treat the “entrapment defense separately and individually as to each count.”

The United States Court of Appeals concluded that the District Court “did not abuse its discretion when it instructed the jury to consider entrapment separately as to each count” and also found that sufficient evidence supported the initial convictions.

Per court testimony, Isnadin had only been present on the last day of the situation in question. But the court believed that he fully intended to commit a crime using a firearm.

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