U.S. Supreme Court
Firearms — carrying a firearm in connection with a drug crime
The Government establishes that a defendant aided and abetted an 18 U.S.C. 924(c) violation by proving that the defendant actively participated in the underlying drug trafficking or violent crime with advance knowledge that a confederate would use or carry a gun during the crime’s commission.
In addition to conduct extending to some part of the crime, aiding and abetting requires intent extending to the whole crime. The defendant must not just associate himself with the venture, but also participate in it as something that he wishes to bring about and seek by his actions to make it succeed. Nye & Nissen v. United States, 336 U. S. 613, 619. That requirement is satisfied when a person actively participates in a criminal venture with full knowledge of the circumstances constituting the charged offense. See Pereira v. United States, 347 U. S. 1, 12. An active participant in a drug transaction has the intent needed to aid and abet a §924(c) violation when he knows that one of his confederates will carry a gun. This must be advance knowledge—meaning, knowledge at a time when the accomplice has a reasonable opportunity to walk away.
695 F. 3d 1151, vacated and remanded.
Kagan, J.; Alito, J., dissenting in part.