Court properly allowed evidence identifying precursors used to make meth

December 11, 2014

A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted an ingredient label and the testimony of a detective relating to the identification of three precursors commonly used to make methamphetamine, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Robin Eugene Montgomery challenged his Class B felony conviction dealing in methamphetamine. Officers, suspicious of the amount of pseudoephedrine Montgomery purchased over a two-month period, approached him at his storage unit in Vanderburgh County. Montgomery attempted to flee from the officers, striking one, and threw a smoking yellow bag out of his window before he was apprehended. A search warrant of the storage unit led to the discovery of items used to manufacture meth.

In Robin Eugene Montgomery v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1404-CR-163, Montgomery argued the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain evidence at trial and that the evidence doesn’t support his conviction. He challenged the admission of evidence relating to the identification of the precursors sulfuric acid, lye and ammonium nitrate.

The label of a product containing sulfuric acid was admitted into evidence, but Montgomery said the state failed to lay a proper foundation for the contents of the bottle. The judges found the rationale set forth in Reemer v. State, 835 N.E.2d 1005, 1007 (Ind. 2005), which held that labels of commercially marketed drugs are properly admitted into evidence under a hearsay exception to prove the composition of a drug, applies equally to packaging for items containing poisonous chemicals. In addition, they found a detective’s testimony identifying the precursors lye and ammonium nitrate was properly admitted as the state presented a proper foundation for his testimony based on his training and knowledge of methamphetamine.

There is sufficient evidence to sustain his dealing conviction, the judges held, as the state showed that Montgomery repeatedly purchased pseudoephedrine and was in the possession of numerous items used to make meth at the time of his arrest.



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