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In Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466 (2000), we held that “[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id., at 490. In federal prosecutions, such facts must also be charged in the indictment. Id., at 476 (quoting Jones v. United States, 526 U. S. 227, 243, n. 6 (1999)). In this case, we address whether the omission from a federal indictment of a fact that enhances the statutory maximum sentence justifies a court of appeals’ vacating the enhanced sentence, even though the defendant did not object in the trial court.

Respondent Stanley Hall, Jr., led a “vast drug organization” in Baltimore. 261 F. 3d 397, 401 (CA4 2001). The six other respondents helped run the operation. In October 1997, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging respondents with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U. S. C. ��846 and 841(a)(1). A superseding indictment returned in March 1998, which extended the time period of the conspiracy and added five more defendants, charged a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a “detectable amount” of cocaine and cocaine base. The superseding indictment did not allege any of the threshold levels of drug quantity that lead to enhanced penalties under �841(b).

In accord with the superseding indictment, the District Court instructed the jury that “as long as you find that a defendant conspired to distribute or posses[s] with intent to distribute these controlled substances, the amounts involved are not important.” App. to Pet. for Cert 6a (emphasis deleted). The jury found respondents guilty.

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