United States v. Nasir, No. 18-2888 (3d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The owner told officers that he suspected Nasir used unit C69 for drug activity and provided a photograph of the inside, showing coolers and a box of baggies. The police learned that Nasir had felony drug convictions. They visited unit C69 with a drug detection dog, who positively alerted. Waiting for a search warrant, the officers stopped Nasir. In his SUV, they found a key to unit C69, which contained marijuana, scales, and packaging materials. They obtained a search warrant for Nasir’s home and any vehicles on the property. The officers found $5,000 in cash in the house and several handguns with ammunition in a Dodge parked on the property.
Nasir was indicted under the crack house statute; for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; and as a felon in possession of a firearm. His motion to suppress was denied. Nasir stipulated that before the date when he allegedly possessed the firearm, he had been “convicted of a felony crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year." Convicted, Nasir was sentenced as a career offender based on Virginia convictions for attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and for possession of cocaine and marijuana.
The Third Circuit affirmed in part, rejecting arguments that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his crack house conviction because the section under which he was convicted does not make it unlawful to store drugs, that the officer who searched the Mercury did not have probable cause, and that a juror was avowedly partial. Career offender enhancement should not have applied; one of his convictions does not qualify as a “controlled substance offense.” The court vacated the firearm conviction; the government did not prove that Nasir knew he was a felon, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2019 Rehaif holding.