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9.15 Controlled Substance—Possession With Intent to Distribute

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The defendant is charged in [Count _______ of] the indictment with possession of [specify controlled substance] with intent to distribute in violation of Section 841(a)(1) of Title 21 of the United States Code. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of that charge, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, the defendant knowingly possessed [specify controlled substance]; and

Second, the defendant possessed it with the intent to distribute it to another person.

[The government is not required to prove the amount or quantity of [specify controlled substance]. It need only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a measurable or detectable amount of [specify controlled substance].]

It does not matter whether the defendant knew that the substance was [specify controlled substance]. It is sufficient that the defendant knew that it was some kind of a prohibited drug.

To "possess with intent to distribute" means to possess with intent to deliver or transfer possession of [specify controlled substance] to another person, with or without any financial interest in the transaction.


See Comment to Instruction 9.18 (Controlled Substance—Distribution or Manufacture), if death or serious bodily injury occurred.

Use the bracketed paragraph only when quantity is not at issue.

The defendant does not need to know what the controlled substance is so long as the defendant knows that he or she has possession of such a substance. United States v. Jewell, 532 F.2d 697, 698 (9th Cir. 1976) (en banc).

In the aftermath of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), the Ninth Circuit has held that where the amount of drugs "increases the prescribed statutory maximum penalty to which a criminal defendant is exposed," the amount of drugs must be decided by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. United States v. Nordby, 225 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir.2000), overruled on other grounds, United States v. Buckland, 289 F.3d 558 (9th Cir.2002) (en banc). See also United States v. Garcia-Guizar, 227 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir.2000). As a result, if applicable, the court should obtain a jury determination of the amount of drugs involved. See also United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005); United States v. Ameline, 409 F.3d 1073 (9th Cir.2005) (en banc). When it is necessary to determine an amount of controlled substance, use this instruction with Instruction 9.16 (Determining Amount of Controlled Substance), together with a verdict form similar to the example provided in the Comment to Instruction 9.16. See United States v. Hunt, 656 F.3d 906 (9th Cir.2011) (discussing effect on sentencing of knowledge of type of drug in attempted possession with intent to distribute case).

The defendant may be entitled to a jury instruction on a lesser included offense of simple possession, 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). See Instruction 3.15. See also United States v. Hernandez, 476 F.3d 791, 798-800 (9th Cir.2007).

Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute requires the jury to find that the defendant (1) knowingly possessed drugs and (2) possessed them with the intent to deliver them to another person. See, for example, United States v. Orduno-Aguilera, 183 F.3d 1138, 1140 (9th Cir.1999); United States v. Seley, 957 F.2d 717, 721 (9th Cir.1992). See also United States v. Magallon-Jimenez, 219 F.3d 1109, 1112 (9th Cir.2000).

Approved 12/2012