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COA: Evidence supports dealing conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s conviction of dealing in methamphetamine, finding that pill dough created while making the drug could be used to count toward the three grams needed to charge someone with Class A felony dealing.

In James R. Hundley v. State of Indiana, No. 24A01-1010-CR-550, James Hundley challenged his conviction of and sentence for Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine. Police went to Hundley’s grandparents’ property on a tip that methamphetamine was being made there. The grandparents took police to a secluded, wooded area behind their home where their grandson, James, hung out. Police saw evidence of methamphetamine and obtained a search warrant for Hundley’s truck. Inside they found more evidence of manufacturing of methamphetamine, including pill dough, which is produced during an intermediate step in making the drug, but contains methamphetamine. Hundley wasn’t there while police were on the property.
 
Hundley claimed that the state didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the one who made the meth at the campsite. But the evidence ties Hundley to the drug and shows he had the intent and capability to maintain control over the meth lab. The meth lab was found in his truck, which was locked and no one else had access to it. A pill bottle was found with his name on it, and after he was arrested, Hundley admitted to his involvement with the meth lab.

Hundley also challenged his conviction on the grounds that the state didn’t prove he was dealing meth because it didn’t show that the weight of the drug found was in excess of three grams. The conviction was based on the weight of the pill dough sample, and that contained other material in addition to methamphetamine.

“We hold that where, as here, the intermediate step is so near the end of the manufacturing process that the final product is present in the chemical compound, that substance qualifies as an ‘adulterated drug’ for purposes of our manufacturing statutes,” wrote Judge Edward Najam.

The COA has previously held that the additional weight of water added to pure cocaine may be considered when determining the weight of the cocaine. In addition, the statute prohibits the manufacture of methamphetamine “pure or adulterated,” so the production of the drug is prohibited, even if the meth produced is impure, the judge added.

The appellate judges also upheld Hundley’s 40-year sentence, with 10 years suspended to probation.

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