June 26, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant who Sold Drugs to Undercover Agent Must Return Agent’s Drug Money as Restitution

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Juanda on September 27, 2012.

Restitution—Pecuniary Loss—Victim—Law Enforcement.

Defendant Joseph L. Juanda appealed from an order requiring him to pay restitution. The order was affirmed.

On four occasions, Juanda sold oxycodone to an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). After Juanda pleaded guilty to two drug offenses, the People sought an order of restitution requiring Juanda to return the “buy money” ($11,600) that he had received from the DEA’s agent, which the court granted.

Juanda contended that the court erred in ordering him to pay restitution. “Restitution” means “any pecuniary loss suffered by a victim.” Qualifying pecuniary losses include (1) “money advanced by law enforcement agencies,” and (2) “extraordinary direct public . . . investigative costs.” Here, the money was advanced by the DEA to its undercover agent, who then used the money to buy drugs from Juanda. Therefore, the DEA’s buy money qualifies as “money advanced by [a] law enforcement agenc[y]” under CRS § 18-1.3-602(3)(a), and the trial court’s order was supported by the restitution statute.

Summary and full case available here.

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