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Sufficient evidence of intent to distribute heroin

There was sufficient evidence to support an inference that appellant possessed drugs with the intent to distribute.


“Appellant argues that the evidence did not establish his intent to distribute heroin. Although he acknowledges his statement to Detective Jessie that he was a dealer rather than a user, he claims the facts – particularly his overdose – show he was not a dealer but only a user. Appellant does not contest the trial court’s conclusion that he possessed the discovered drugs. …

“Appellant contends that his overdose shows he was a user rather than a dealer. His argument mistakenly assumes a person cannot be both. Here, the recovered evidence allowed for a reasonable inference that appellant intended to distribute the recovered drugs.

“The officers found the drugs in a room belonging to appellant that contained some of his personal documents and prescription bottles. … The recovered drugs included a powder mixture of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl weighing almost eleven grams, an amount inconsistent with personal use, according to Detective Jessie.

“The officers also discovered a desk, mylar bags, and a heat gun. As Detective Jessie testified, those distributing drugs commonly use those items for packaging their product. The possible ‘cutting agent’ the officers found supported that conclusion.

“Other evidence also suggested appellant was engaged in drug distribution, such as the two phones found in the room, the drugs, and the substantial amount of cash police found on his person.

“Finally, although it conflicted with his later denial, appellant’s own incriminating statement – that he only sold, rather than used, drugs – also indicated an intent to sell the discovered drugs.”

Boyd v. Commonwealth, Record No. 1367-21-1, Nov. 15, 2022. CAV unpublished opinion (Huff). From the Circuit Court of the City of Newport News (Sugg). Charles E. Haden for appellant. Jason S. Miyares, Mason D. Williams for appellee. VLW 022-7-519, 5 pp.

VLW 022-7-519

Virginia Lawyers Weekly