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Matter of Ivan Enedelio Flores-Aguirre

The Board held that the offense of traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to distribute the proceeds of a drug enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(1)(A) was not a drug trafficking aggravated felony under 101(a)(43)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Board held that the offense did not meet either test for that definition. First, it is not a drug trafficking crime as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) because that subsection is limited to conduct punishable as a felony under “the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (21 U.S.C. 951 et seq.), or chapter 705 of title 46,” which does not include distribution of proceeds under 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(1)(A). Second, it is not a generic offense of "illicit trafficking" in a substance listed under the federal Controlled Substances Act because the offense does not involve trading or dealing. See Matter of Davis, 20 I&N Dec. 536 (BIA 1992).

Section 1952(a)(1)(A) thus is potentially a good plea for an immigrant facing serious federal drug charges because it avoids an aggravated felony. However, the immigrant would remain inadmissible and deportable for conviction of an offense involving a controlled substance.