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ANDREI SKRIPKOV,
Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General,
Respondent.
   No. 19-3922
On Petition for Review from the Board of Immigration Appeals;
No. A 201 355 193.
Argued: April 27, 2020
Decided and Filed: July 20, 2020
Before: GILMAN, DONALD, and LARSEN, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
OPINION
_________________________

RONALD LEE GILMAN, Circuit Judge. Andrei Skripkov, a citizen of Russia, seeks review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding an Immigration Judge’s (IJ’s) denial of his application for asylum and the withholding of removal. Skripkov asserted in his application that he was persecuted in his home country on account of his political opinion. He specifically contended that his anticorruption whistleblowing activities motivated Russian officials to persecute him. The IJ and the BIA, on the other hand, found that the officials were motivated solely by their pecuniary interest in furthering a corrupt scheme disrupted by Skripkov.

In his petition for review, Skripkov argues that the BIA erred in disregarding evidence that he would be criminally prosecuted for his political opinion if he is returned to Russia. For the reasons set forth below, we GRANT Skripkov’s petition for review and REMAND the case to the BIA for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.



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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ANDY E. MAYA,
Defendant-Appellant.
   No. 19-5100
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington.
No. 2:18-cr-00013-2—David L. Bunning, District Judge.
Argued: May 8, 2020
Decided and Filed: July 20, 2020
Before: SUHRHEINRICH, BUSH, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
OPINION
_________________________

MURPHY, Circuit Judge. The police caught Andy Maya and two accomplices smuggling 50 pounds of marijuana into Kentucky in a BMW transported on a car-hauling truck > No. 19-5100 United States v. Maya Page 2 from out of state. When the police searched Maya’s home, they found a firearm in his bed near over $20,000 in cash and money orders. Maya admitted to a drug-trafficking conspiracy and to possessing the firearm. But he denied possessing the gun “in furtherance of” the conspiracy—an offense that triggers an additional five-year prison term. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i). A jury nonetheless convicted Maya of that offense. This appeal raises two questions: Could a rational jury conclude that Maya possessed the firearm “in furtherance of” the drug conspiracy based on evidence that he, among other things, kept his firearm near his drug proceeds? And did the district court properly permit an officer to opine on the significance of the gun’s location near the funds? We hold that a rational jury could find that Maya possessed the gun to assist the conspiracy and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the officer’s testimony. We thus affirm.