United States v. Bellaizac-Hurtado, No. 11-14049 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Defendants were convicted of drug related charges after they were arrested in Panama and the Panamanian Government consented to their prosecution in the United States. At issue was the scope of congressional power to proscribe conduct abroad: whether the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, 46 U.S.C. 70503(a), 70506, exceeded the power of Congress to "define and punish... Offences against the Law of Nations," as applied to the drug-trafficking activities of defendants in the territorial waters of Panama. Because the court concluded that drug trafficking was not an "Offense against the Law of Nations" and that Congress could not constitutionally proscribe defendants' conduct under the Offences Clause, the court vacated their convictions.