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Conviction for possession of controlled substance affirmed

Where appellant was convicted of possessing a controlled substance, there is sufficient evidence that he knew that the bottom of a soda can contained heroin residue.


“Lane relies on his testimony that Culpepper gave him a ‘clear baggy’ and that he did not see the contents of the bag, but he placed it outside of the vehicle for police to find.

“The record, however, demonstrates that there was sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to conclude that Lane possessed the drug with knowledge of its nature and character. No witness, other than Lane, claimed that the items were stored in a bag.

“Even if the cut soda can bottom was in a bag initially, the testimony of Vose and the officers supports that Lane removed it from the bag before he placed it on the ground and it was not covered in a way that completely concealed its distinctive characteristics.

“Vose observed Lane retrieve the soda can bottom, then wrapped in tissue, from the inside of the vehicle. Without anyone removing the tissue, it separated from the soda can bottom while Lane retrieved the syringe from the vehicle and began to walk away from the scene.

“When Officer Sivels returned to the scene, he saw the soda can bottom and ‘knew, obviously, what it was’ – he could tell the can was burnt and appeared to have heroin residue on the inside. That Lane placed the syringe on the ground with the burnt soda can suggests that he knew the items belonged together.

“At the scene, Lane told Officer Land that he ‘got the syringe and tin can’ and ‘placed it outside the vehicle before walking away.’

“Lane’s removal of the soda can bottom and syringe from the vehicle, considered with his fear of being caught with them, flight from the scene of the stop, and credibility issues, were sufficient for the circuit court to conclude that Lane was aware that the soda can bottom contained a controlled substance.”


Lane v. Commonwealth, Record No. 1363-21-1, Nov. 9, 2022. CAV (Humphreys, Calins concurring and dissenting) From the Circuit Court of the City of Chesapeake (Brown). Meghan Shapiro for appellant. Tanner M. Russo, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 022-7-503, 11 pp.

VLW 022-7-503

Virginia Lawyers Weekly