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K-9 search turning up heroin in car sufficient for conviction

September 16, 2016

A South Bend man’s conviction of Level 6 felony possession of a narcotic was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday, which found the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict.

Raihiem Johnson was driving a car that was stopped by St. Joseph County Police for an improperly affixed license plate. An officer approaching the car noticed him making furtive movements with his hands between the seats and between the seat and driver’s side door. The officer ordered Johnson and a passenger out of the car.

A K-9’s subsequent sniff-search of the car found heroin wrapped in foil and in a small black box under the seat, paraphernalia, and foil in Johnson’s wallet. Judge Edward Najam wrote for the panel the evidence was sufficient for the jury to convict because he had constructive possession.

“(T)he State presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Johnson had the intent to maintain dominion and control over the heroin.  As such, the State met its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Johnson had committed possession of a narcotic drug, as a Level 6 felony,” Najam wrote in Raihiem Johnson v. State of Indiana, 71A04-1605-CR-1042.
 

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