MDLEAMaritime Drug Law Enforcement Act
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Asserting the ability to do so under the powers delegated by the Define and Punish Clause, Congress enacted the MDLEA in 1903.
If the Offenses Clause authorizes Congress to punish only conduct that the United States is obligated by international law to prohibit, it is not clear that the Clause would allow Congress to implement all of the provisions of the MDLEA. The United States has no specific international legal obligation to exercise criminal jurisdiction over drug trafficking activity by its nationals or in foreign territorial waters.
Campbell filed a motion to dismiss arguing that (1) the admission of the certification of the Secretary of State to prove a response to a claim of registry violates Campbell's rights under the Confrontation Clause, and there is insufficient evidence to prove that Campbell was aboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.; (2) the MDLEA violated Campbell's due process rights under the Fifth Amendment because he had no contacts with the U.S.; and (3) Congress exceeded its constitutional power to punish felonies committed on the high seas when it enacted the MDLEA.
The MDLEA has proven invaluable in combating maritime drug smuggling with a near 100 percent conviction rate.
With the drugs disposed of, law enforcement personnel lacked evidence of criminal wrongdoing under the MDLEA and were forced to treat the situation as a mere castaway rescue mission, picking up the occupants from the ocean and returning them to their home country.
jurisdiction in violation of the MDLEA. (10) All six passengers pleaded not guilty.
Reviewing the jurisdictional issue de novo, the Court begins by analyzing the purpose of the MDLEA. "Finding that drug trafficking at sea was a 'serious international problem ...
The main statutory vehicle through which the United States has combated the illegal maritime trafficking of narcotics, the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act ("MDLEA"), became law in 1986.
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.