United States v. Wilchcombe, No. 14-14991 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendants Wilchcombe, Rolle, and Beauplaint appealed their convictions for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana while on board a vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Rolle also appeals his conviction for failing to obey a lawful order to heave to his vessel of which he was the master, operator, and person in charge. The court rejected Wilchcombe’s and Rolle’s arguments that the court's interpretation of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA), 46 U.S.C. 70503(a) and (b), and 70506(a), violates due process; the statement of no objection (SNO) in this case was sufficient to inform the United States that the Bahamian Government consented to the United States’ exercise of jurisdiction over Rolle’s vessel; while the evidence presented at trial suggests that the Coast Guard may have incorrectly informed the Bahamian Government about the registration documents provided by Rolle to the Coast Guard, there are multiple reasons why this inconsistency does not lead the court to fault the district court’s decision to exercise jurisdiction over defendants; the evidence is sufficient to sustain Wilchcombe’s convictions for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute under the MDLEA; the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to grant a mistrial as to Beauplant and Rolle; the district court properly denied Beauplant's motion to dismiss; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by permitting a DEA agent to testify regarding Beauplant's prior 2010 arrest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.