United States v. Aybar-Ulloa, No. 15-2377 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions of two counts of drug trafficking in international waters while aboard a stateless vessel in violation of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA), 46 U.S.C. 70501-08, holding that Defendant’s challenges to his convictions failed but that the district court erred in denying Defendant a minor participant reduction under section 3B1.2(b) of the Sentencing Guidelines.
Specifically, the Court held (1) in light of prior precedent concerning Defendant’s assertion about the content of international law, the Court must reject Defendant’s constitutional contention regarding the scope of Congress’s power to criminalize his conduct that he argued lacked any nexus to the United States; and (2) because Amendment 794 to the Sentencing Guidelines, which added five factors to the application note, applies retroactively, this case must be remanded for resentencing so that the district court can have an opportunity to apply the new factors.