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Mom Conspired to Sell Cocaine

Deborah Elkins//October 4, 2012

Mom Conspired to Sell Cocaine

Deborah Elkins//October 4, 2012

The Court of Appeals affirms mother’s conviction for conspiring to sell cocaine to an informant with her three-year-old son in the backseat; mother’s witnessing father’s prior sales to informant supports finding she knew and benefitted from her role as driver.

Parents have a three year-old-son and history of drug dealing.  Informant formerly employed father and paid him in cash at the end of the day.  Mother drove father to two controlled drug buys engineered by police who were targeting father.  Their son was in the backseat on both occasions; mother did not leave the vehicle and father left briefly spending less than a minute at informant’s truck to exchange crack cocaine for cash.  Mother claimed she thought informant was paying father for labor.  The trial court convicted her of two counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs under  Va. Code §§ 18.2-256 and 18.2-248.

On appeal mother argues no evidence supports finding an agreement with father to distribute drugs.  We affirm.  Neither facilitating a transaction nor a distribution offense standing alone suffices to support a conspiracy conviction.  The circumstantial evidence here proves the requisite agreement:  Mother previously witnessed father’s drug transactions with informant; she drove father to two quick transactions at an unfamiliar location where they conducted no other business, and backed her car next to informant’s on one occasion.  The trial court was entitled to reject mother’s claim she believed father was being paid for labor.

Conviction affirmed.

Foster v. Commonwealth (Humphreys) No. 2275-11-2, Oct. 2, 2012; Colonial Heights Cir. Ct. (Gill) John A. Kirkland for appellant; Susan M. Harris, AAG. VLW 012-7-267(UP), 7 pp.

VLW 012-7-267

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