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The aider and abettor is punishable as a principal for the offense that he aided and abetted. An aider and abettor is punishable under the statute creating the offense he has aided and abetted and under no other statute.
Defendant Tito Juan Pino-Perez supplied large quantities of cocaine to a drug ring in southern Wisconsin headed by a drug kingpin. He was convicted of violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 2(a), aiding and abetting a drug kingpin, as defined in 21 U.S.C.S. § 848, Continuing Criminal Enterprises, Title II, § 408, of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. Defendant was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Defendant appealed, arguing that he should not be punished as severely as the kingpin.
Should the defendant, convicted of aided and abetting a drug kingpin, receive the same punishment as the principal?
The court found that aiding and abetting implied significant participation in the kingpin's activity and that there was no reported case where the aider and abettor participated so minimally that subjecting the aider and abettor to the minimum penalty in the kingpin statute would be inappropriate. The court held that an aider and abettor was punishable under the statute creating the offense that he had aided and abetted and that the statute required that the aider and abettor receive the same punishment as the principal.