MDLEAMaritime Drug Law Enforcement Act
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Bellaizac-Hurtado, (431) the Eleventh Circuit held that the MDLEA exceeded Congress's power under the Offenses Clause because drug trafficking was not prohibited by the law of nations, which the court misunderstood as limited to customary international law.
A magistrate judge found, and the district court adopted the report, that the certification established extraterritorial jurisdiction over the boat, and that the MDLEA was constitutional both on its face and as applied to Campbell.
13) As a result, the defendants argued that because no contact had been made with the Venezuelan authorities regarding their claim of registry, the United States never had jurisdiction over the defendants or the vessel, and thus, the United States could not establish jurisdiction under the MDLEA over the vessel.
The MDLEA has proven invaluable in combating maritime drug smuggling with a near 100 percent conviction rate.
The remaining cases of scuttled SPSS vessels are currently pending and are likely to be charged under Title 46, the MDLEA, rather than the DTVIA.
21) Part II of this Note briefly describes the basic concept of jurisdiction, the inherent power of the Constitution to extend jurisdiction into the high seas, the legislative history of MDLEA and its expression of the necessary congressional intent for extending jurisdiction extraterritorially, and the use of international legal principles to establish prescriptive jurisdiction.
While a showing of nexus is not required for "stateless" or "unflagged" vessels under both the MDLEA and DTVIA, the rapid development of new methods of maritime transport of illicit substances may revive the nexus requirement.
At the time of the events relevant to this case, the MDLEA stated that only a denial of the registry claim, and not an equivocal response, could be proved conclusively by State Department certification.
18) The district court judge ruled the criminal conduct occurred aboard a "vessel without nationality" and therefore fell within the scope of the MDLEA.
The holding that Welzant's abbreviated certification was valid, as the Court states, rests on the fact that Congress materially amended the MDLEA subsequent to Leuro Rosas because that decision "left open the possibility that a defendant could look behind the State Department's certification to challenge its representations and factual underpinnings.
Against this background, the district court's determination that the Defendants' [boat] was 'a vessel without nationality' within the meaning of the MDLEA was correct.