STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v. No. 04 CRS 103205, 84879
REGINALD LAMONT WILLIAMS
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Steven A. Armstrong, for the State.
Lynne Rupp for defendant-appellant.
MARTIN, Chief Judge.
A jury found defendant guilty of conspiracy to sell cocaine.
He entered a plea of guilty to having attained habitual felon
status and a prior record level III. The trial court determined
defendant had a prior record level of III and sentenced him to an
active prison term of 104 to 135 months. Defendant appeals.
The State adduced evidence that Raleigh Police Officers G.J. Porterfield and J.L. Jordan made an undercover purchase of crack cocaine at the intersection of Lord Anson Drive and Poole Road on the night of 13 October 2004, as part of the department's Community Assistance Narcotics Enforcement or CANE project. Porterfield, a sixteen-year veteran of the department, had been a patrol officerin defendant's Poole Road neighborhood for five and one-half years and described the T-intersection of Poole Road and Lord Anson Drive as a high complaint area for drug activity. Based on his familiarity with street-level drug sales in the area, Porterfield described the method of conducting such transactions as follows:
Basically how street-level drug transactions usually occur is a vehicle or a person on foot would walk into the area and make visual contact with potential sellers.
If that person is a seller they will acknowledge. Usually the terminology is: What do you need? What can I get you?
From that point the talk is about what type of drug, how much they want, and how much they want to spend.
. . .
What shorthand is used for it is: I need a 20. I need a rock. That type language.
Jordan, a twenty-seven-year veteran of the department, had participated in well over a hundred drug investigations as both an investigator and a patrol officer and had made numerous arrests from that particular corner for drug sales[.] From his experience, cocaine dealers typically did not carry drugs on their person, in case they were arrested or robbed. They maintained a hidden stash of drugs which they could access as needed to make a sale. Jordan further averred that it was not unusual for someone to work selling drugs in order to get drugs for themselves.
On the night of 13 October 2004, Porterfield and Jordan drove in an unmarked van to the intersection of Poole Road and Lord AnsonDrive and parked in front of a convenience store. From the passenger's seat, Jordan saw defendant standing next to a second man at the edge of the store's parking lot. Jordan and defendant made eye contact and nodded at each other. Defendant approached Jordan's window and asked, What do you need? According to Jordan, that's what they do usually. If they're selling drugs they come to you. They ask you the question what you need, what you want, what you look for. Jordan replied that he needed a 20, which was street terminology for $20 worth of cocaine, crack cocaine. Defendant turned to his left toward the convenience store and hollered for someone to come to him. A woman, later identified as Chana Marks, walked over to the van from the direction of the store and joined defendant at Jordan's window. Defendant told Marks, Go get him a 20. Marks walked down Poole Road, turned left beside a house, and disappeared from Jordan's view. Defendant returned to his prior location in the parking lot. Within a minute or two at the most, Marks came back to Jordan's window and, without saying a word, gave him a small off-white pebble-shaped object wrapped in the corner of a plastic baggie in exchange for $20. Marks walked over to defendant and spoke with him while the officers radioed the take-down unit. As she walked back down to the corner of Poole Road, uniformed officers arrived and detained her and defendant. Officers found a crack pipe in Marks' pocket. Defendant had no drugs, drug paraphernalia or money on his person. A forensic chemist tested the object Marks sold toJordan and determined that it was one-tenth of a gram of cocaine base.
Marks testified that she had been convicted for selling crack cocaine to Jordan and served an eight month prison sentence. She had worked for fifteen years as a drug runner for multiple dealers, receiving crack cocaine in exchange for her services. The dealers in the area either held the drugs on their persons or kept their stashes of drugs very c[l]ose to them where they can see them. Marks had known defendant for years from the neighborhood but did not work with him or sell drugs for him. On the night of 13 October 2004, she was standing near defendant on the sidewalk in front of the convenience store when a van arrived. After the van's occupant said something to defendant, he turned toward Marks and said, [H]e's got a 20. Marks walked across the street and obtained $20 worth of crack cocaine from a dealer named Marcus, who was sitting right on the corner of the front porch of the house. After completing the sale, she was arrested on her way to deliver the money to Marcus. The police took the $20 bill from her and found the stem she used to smoke cocaine. Marks denied stopping to speak to defendant before returning to Marcus.
*** Converted from WordPerfect ***