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United States v. Lawrence

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
727 F.3d 386 (2013)


Facts

Ade Lawrence was a Nigerian citizen, and Felicia Parker was a United States citizen (defendants). Lawrence and Parker were indicted in federal district court for conspiracy to possess illegal substances aboard an airplane with the intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 959(b). The government (plaintiff) argued that the conspiracy consisted of Lawrence, Parker, and others traveling from the United States to South America to pick up cocaine and transporting it to the United Kingdom for distribution. Lawrence and Parker argued that the crime of possession with the intent to distribute could not constitutionally apply to the possession of cocaine aboard an aircraft traveling between two foreign countries if the drugs were also distributed in a foreign country. Lawrence and Parker argued that if § 959(b) were applied extraterritorially, the law would violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution and international law. The district court disagreed and convicted Lawrence and Parker. Lawrence and Parker appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lemelle, J.)

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