United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ELIZABETH A. KOVACHEVICH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court on:
Dkt. 185 Motion to Dismiss Indictment
186 Motion for Status of Motion
Carlos Naranjo, pro se, moves to dismiss the Indictment
pursuant to United States v. Bellaizac-Hurtado, 700
F.3d 1245 (11th Cir. 2012)(Maritime Drug Law
Enforcement Act exceeded Congress's authority and was
unconstitutional). The Eleventh Circuit found that Congress
lacked the constitutional authority to punish drug
trafficking in the territorial waters of another nation
(Panama), but reaffirmed that Congress possessed the
constitutional authority punish drug trafficking that occurs
in international waters, Id. at 1257.
entering into a Plea Agreement (Dkt. 32), Defendant Naranjo
was sentenced on March 2, 2007 (Dkts. 74, 77). Defendant
Naranjo entered a plea of guilty to Count One of the
Indictment, violation of 46 App. U.S.C. Sees. 1903(a) and
1903(g); 21 U.S.C. Sec. 9760(b)(1)(B)(ii), and 18 U.S.C. Sec.
2. At sentencing, Count Two was dismissed upon the
Government's Motion. Defendant Naranjo's Plea
Agreement includes an appeal waiver (Dkt. 32, p. 12).
sentencing, Defendant Naranjo pursued a Sec. 2255 Petition.
The Court denied Defendant Naranjo's Sec. 2255 Petition.
(Dkt. 169). Defendant Naranjo also pursued an Amendment 782
Motion for Retroactive Application of Sentencing Guidelines.
(Dkt. 170). Defendant Naranjo's Amendment 782 Motion was
denied. (Dkt. 180). Defendant Naranjo moved for
reconsideration (Dkt. 183), which the Court denied (Dkt.
Naranjo asserts that the United States Coast Guard arrested
Defendant Naranjo on August 5, 2006 600 miles west of the
Galapagos Islands, but left Defendant Naranjo in Panama on
September 1, 2006. Defendant Naranjo asserts that the
Panamanian Marine booked Defendant Naranjo, and then sent him
to the United States where Defendant Naranjo was booked
again. Defendant Naranjo argues that the United States Coast
Guard lost jurisdiction over Defendant when Defendant Naranjo
was left in the custody of Panamanian law enforcement
officials, who interrogated and booked Defendant Naranjo.
Defendant Naranjo further relies on the opinion of the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v.
Bellaizac-Hurtado, 700 F.3d 1245 (11th Cir.
Naranjo's Motion to Dismiss the Indictment is not timely.
Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(3)(B), a motion alleging a
defect in the Indictment must be raised before trial. A
motion that the Court lacks jurisdiction may be raised at any
time that the case is pending. See Fed. R. Crim. P.
Naranjo has moved to dismiss the Indictment roughly ten years
after Defendant Naranjo was sentenced. A case is not
"pending" within the meaning of Rule 12 where the
defendant has pled guilty, has been sentenced, and the period
to appeal the conviction has long since passed. See
United States v. Clarke, 150 Fed.Appx. 969, 970
(11th Cir. 2005)(unpublished); United States
v. Wellons, 289 Fed.Appx. 383, 384 (11th Cir.
Court further notes that the United States generally
recognizes the territorial seas of foreign nations up to
twelve nautical miles adjacent to recognized foreign coasts.
See United States v. McPhee, 336 F.3d 1269, 1273
(11th Cir. 2003). The factual statement in
Defendant Naranjo's Plea Agreement states:
"On the evening of August 4, 200, the USS Stephen W.
Groves ("SWG") was deployed in the Eastern Pacific
Ocean. By means of radar, the SWG detected what appeared to
be a small vessel that was dead in the water at 0 degrees, 16
minutes North and 100 degrees, 18 minutes West, which is
approximately 600 miles due west of the Galapagos
factual statement also states that vessel had no outward
markings indicating nationality, and 'Defendant Naranjo
stated that he was master of the vessel, and it had no
nationality, documentation or registration." (Dkt. 32,
pp. 14-15). In McPhee, the Eleventh Circuit
concluded that "international law permits any nation to