Figueroa-Beltran v. United StatesAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court accepted questions certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and answered that the identity of a substance is an element of the crime articulated in Nev. Rev. Stat. 453.337 such that each schedule I or II controlled substance simultaneously possessed with the intent to sell constitutes a separate offense.
Section 453.337 prohibits a person from possessing, for the purpose of sale, flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or any schedule I and II controlled substance. Defendant pleaded guilty to being a deported alien found unlawfully in the United States. The federal district court imposed a 16-level sentencing enhancement due to Defendant's previous conviction in Nevada for violating section 453.337. Defendant appealed, arguing that his section 453.337 conviction did not qualify as a predicate drug trafficking offense under the federal sentencing guidelines. The Ninth Circuit concluded that no controlling Nevada precedent clearly resolved whether a substance's identity is an element of the crime described in section 453.337 and filed its certified questions with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that the identity of a substance is an element of the crime set forth in section 453.337.