You are here

9.23 Controlled Substance—Distribution in or Near School

Printer-friendly version


(21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 860)

The defendant is charged in [Count _______ of] the indictment with distribution of [specify controlled substance] in, on or within 1,000 feet of the [schoolyard] [campus] of a [school] [college] [university] in violation of Sections 841(a)(1) and 860 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 distributed [specify controlled substance] to another person;

Second, the defendant knew that it was [specify controlled substance] or some other prohibited drug; and

Third, the distribution took place in, on or within 1,000 feet of the [schoolyard] [campus] of [school].

"Distribution" means delivery or transfer of possession of [specify controlled substance] to another person, with or without any financial interest in that transaction.


See Comment to Instructions 9.15 (Controlled Substance–Possession with Intent to Distribute) and 9.16 (Determining Amount of Controlled Substance).

The defendant’s specific knowledge of the proximity of a school is not an element of the offense. United States v. Pitts,908 F.2d 458, 461 (9th Cir.1990). Distance is measured by a straight line. United States v. Ofarril, 779 F.2d 791, 792 (2d Cir.1985).

Section 860 applies not only to schools, but also to playgrounds and public housing facilities. In addition, it applies to youth centers, public swimming pools and video arcades; as to these locations, the distribution must have occurred within a 100 foot radius (as opposed to a 1,000 foot radius). The instruction should be revised as necessary to match the facts of the case.

Regarding cases involving a "controlled substance analogue" as it is defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802(32)(A), the Supreme Court held in McFadden v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2298 (2015), that, in order to prove the knowledge element, the government must prove that either the defendant knew that the substance distributed is treated as a drug listed on the federal drug schedules—regardless of whether he knew the particular identity of the substance—or "that the defendant knew the specific analogue he was dealing with, even if he did not know its legal status as an analogue." Id. at 2305.

Approved 9/2015