Archive | extraterritorial jurisdiction

Friday, July 14th, 2023

Application of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (“MDLEA”) to foreign conspirators who were never on the high seas, and where neither the defendants nor the scheme have a nexus to the United States, does not violate Due Process or Article I.

In United States v. Antonius, No. 21-1083 (2d Cir. July 10, 2023) (Calabresi, Lynch, and Robinson), the Second Circuit affirmed the convictions of three land-based foreign nationals for conspiracy to traffic drugs on the high seas using a stateless vessel where neither the defendants nor the conspiracy had any connection to the United States. The defendants had never been on the high seas but conspired from land to send drugs from Guyana to the Netherlands on the high seas in a stateless vessel. The Circuit had previously held that MDLEA reached foreign land-based conspirators whose plan involved no travel through United States waters but who had minor contact with the United States in furtherance of the conspiracy. United States v. Alarcon-Sanchez, 972 F.3d 156 (2d Cir. 2022).The Antonius defendants argued that their prosecution under the MDLEA statute violated due process because their conduct had no nexus …

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Categories: due process, extraterritorial jurisdiction, MDLEA

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Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

In an Extraterritorial Duel of Canons, the Aversion to Superfluity Trumps Expressio Unius and the Presumption against Extraterritoriality.

Last week, the Second Circuit decided United States v. Epskamp, No. 15-2028.   The Court affirmed the district court’s decisions regarding the extraterritoriality of 21 U.S.C. 959.  The appeal followed a trial in front of Judge Sullivan and concerned the use of an aircraft registered in the United States as part of a scheme to fly drugs from the Dominican Republic to Amsterdam.

Section 959(b) makes it unlawful for any person on board an aircraft registered in the United States to (1) manufacture or distribute a controlled substance or (2) possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  [NB:  the statute has since been amended, so that the old section (b) is now section (c) and the old section (c) is now section (d).  Because the amendments did not result in substantive changes, the Court referred to the old version of the statute.]  Section 959(c), entitled “Acts committed outside territorial …

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Categories: extraterritorial jurisdiction

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Monday, October 10th, 2011

A Bridge To FARC

United States v. al Kassar, No. 09-1051-cr (2d Cir. September 21, 2011) (Jacobs, Hall, CJJ, Scheindlin, DJ)

Defendants were convicted of various terrorism offenses in connection with a sting operation in which a CI, who was working for the DEA, introduced al Kassar to two undercover DEA agents posing as members of FARC, the left-wing Colombian guerrilla group. The defendants agreed to supply FARC with weapons, including surface to air missiles (“SAM”s) to use against United States military personnel and equipment in Colombia.

All of the criminal conduct occurred outside of the United States – mostly in Lebanon, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania. The district court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss the indictment on jurisdictional grounds, and in this opinion, the circuit affirmed.

There is a presumption that acts of Congress do not apply extraterritorially, but even if the statute is not explicit, an intent can be inferred from the …

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Categories: extraterritorial jurisdiction, Uncategorized

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