US v. Matos-Luchi, 08-2289

By FindLaw Staff on December 02, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Convictions of defendants for drug related offenses under the Maritime Drug Enforcement Act

US v. Matos-Luchi, 08-2289, concerned challenges to the convictions of defendants for violations of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA), for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, aiding and abetting that crime, all while on board a "vessel without nationality."

In affirming, the court held that defendants' possession of the cocaine with intent to distribute occurred on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States as the district court's determination that the defendants' yola was "a vessel without nationality" within the meaning of the MDLEA was correct.  The court also held that defendants' remaining arguments are without merit as a rational jury could easily have found the defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Lastly, the court rejected defendants' claim that the sentencing judge failed to understand his discretion to depart downwards under Booker.

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