Court Affirms Defendant’s Arizona Drug Conviction Stemming from Hotel Room Drug Deal

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona drug case affirming the defendant’s conviction for selling methamphetamine. The case illustrates the lengths that law enforcement will go to when investigating drug crimes.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the Prescott Police Department was conducting a narcotics surveillance on a Roadway Inn. Evidently, police officers watched as an individual entered the defendant’s hotel room, stayed for less than five minutes, and then left. Police pulled the individual over for an insurance violation, searched their car, and found one gram of meth.

Shortly after this, the defendant left the hotel room. Police followed him, eventually pulling him over for driving with a revoked license. They then searched the defendant’s car, finding a glass pipe with a “burnt crystalline substance” inside. Based on this, police officers obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s hotel room, where they found 4.5 ounces of meth, a scale, and a ledger. Subsequent testing revealed that the substance was methamphetamine. The police officers also recovered the defendant’s cell phone, which contained messages from several people looking to buy drugs.

Officers took the defendant in for questioning. During the interrogation, the defendant admitted to buying four or five ounces of meth a few days before. He also confessed that he sold meth to several others for $40 a gram.

At trial, the defendant testified in his own defense, explaining that he possessed the meth and owned the scale but did not admit to selling the meth. However, the jury found him guilty of both possession of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. The court sentenced the defendant to 7.5 years in jail.

On appeal, the court explained that the prosecution’s evidence, as well as the defendant’s testimony, was sufficient to prove that he possessed the methamphetamine for sale. While it’s likely that the jury would have found the defendant guilty without his own testimony, it is unclear how the defendant thought his testimony would help him avoid a conviction. By admitting to law enforcement that he sold meth in the days leading up to his arrest, the defendant essentially talked himself into a conviction. While the defendant may have litigated a pre-trial motion to suppress his statement, the court did not mention any such motion in its opinion.

Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona Drug Crime?

If you were recently arrested for an Arizona drug crime, it is important that you don’t give up hope. Even if you made a statement and the evidence appears to be stacked against you, the Law Offices of James E. Novak can help. Attorney Novak is a veteran Tempe criminal defense attorney with decades of experience both prosecuting and defending all types of drug offenses. He can help you develop a strong defense to the charges you face and ensure that your interests are protected every step of the way. To learn more, call 480-413-1499 today, or fill out our online contact form.

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