Drugs on a Plane: Sherman Plano Federal Court International Jurisdiction (Part Three)

UKbust-300x200In Morrison v. National Australia Bank, 561 U.S. 247 (2010), the Supreme Court applied the presumption against extraterritoriality to securities fraud statutes. Again in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013), the Supreme Court applied the presumption and held the plaintiff lacked extraterritorial jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute.  In 2016, however, in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community, 136 S.Ct. 2090 (2016), the Court held the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) could apply extraterritorially. But the Court severely limited the application of RICO to foreign conduct that violates “a predicate statute that manifests an unmistakable congressional intent to apply extraterritorially.” Still, the Court held RICO’s private right of action does not overcome the presumption. Thus, the Supreme Court has revived the presumption against extraterritoriality and reinforced a high burden to overtake the canon to apply a law extraterritorially.

Under 959(c)(2) cases, a member of a drug conspiracy who are actually on board the aircraft have had their convictions upheld. See United States v. Epskamp F.3d 154 (2nd. Cir. 2016) (conspirators on board aircraft with cocaine on runway); United States v. Knowles,  197 F. Supp. 3d 143 (D.D.C. 2016), later affirmed by United States v. Thompson 921 F.3d 263 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (pilot and primary trafficker arrested in Haiti when US-registered aircraft was detained);  United States v. Bodye, 172 F. Supp.3d 15 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (conspirators actually flew cocaine on US-registered planes); United States v. Lawrence, 727 F.3d 386 (5th Cir. 2019) (United States citizen defendants personally transported drugs on commercial airplanes from South America to United Kingdom); United States v. Rojas, 812 F.3d 382 (5th Cir. 2016) (one defendant piloted plane with 600 kilograms of cocaine).

Contact Information