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Criminal Resource Manual

1407. Aircraft Piracy Within Special Aircraft Jurisdiction—49 U.S.C. 46502(a)

Aircraft piracy is the seizure by force or violence or threat of force or violence or any other form of intimidation with wrongful intent of an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. This offense is to be distinguished from 18 U.S.C. § 1651 where the term "piracy" is defined by the law of nations. The "wrongful intent" element of the offense has been held to be not more than general criminal intent to seize or exercise control of an aircraft without any legal right to do so. See United States v. Busic, 592 F.2d 13, 21 (2d Cir. 1978); United States v. Bohle, 445 F.2d 54 (7th Cir. 1971). The display of a dangerous weapon by the defendant is a sufficient use of force and violence to satisfy that element of the aircraft piracy offense. See United States v. Pablo-Lugones, 725 F.2d 624 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 467 U.S. 1255 (1984).

[updated August 1999] [cited in USAM 9-63.100]