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United States v. Hussein

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
351 F.3d 9 (2003)


Facts

Three wet, suspicious packages arrived at a Federal Express location. Employees opened the packages and found plants, which they believed to be marijuana. The employees contacted the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who identified the plants as khat. Khat is a plant grown in East Africa that produces a stimulant effect if chewed or brewed into tea. Khat itself is not listed as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. § 812, but khat contains cathinone, which is listed under the statute. The DEA arrested Abdigani Hussein (defendant) when he attempted to pick up the packages. During the resulting investigation, the DEA found that the packages were sent through an elaborate shipping scheme through which khat was imported and distributed. Hussein admitted he knew that the packages contained khat, that khat was a stimulant, and that the shipping scheme was secretive and designed to avoid detection. Hussein was charged under § 841(a)(1) of the CSA with knowingly possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. At the trial, Hussein filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal. After the jury found Hussein guilty, the court denied his motion. Hussein appealed, claiming that the evidence failed to prove that he knowingly possessed a controlled substance.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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