Conviction Affirmed in Drug Trafficking Case

State v. Lance Miles

Appellant was convicted for trafficking in illegal drugs.

1) Appellant argued that the court erred in instructing the jury that the defendant didn’t have to know that the drugs in question were Oxycodone. Defendant was caught with a package containing Oxycodone, and when questioned by a law enforcement officer about their contents, he said he knew there were drugs in the package, but he did not know what kind. Appellant claimed it was error to instruct the jury that “the State does not have to prove that the Defendant knew that the drugs in the package were [o]xycodone, just that he knew that the package contained illegal drugs.” COA held that the requisite intent for drug trafficking – “knowingly” – does not require the State to prove that a defendant knew the specific type of illegal drug that he was trafficking. The State need only prove that a defendant knew or was willfully ignorant that he was dealing with contraband drugs.

2) Appellant next argued that he was entitled to a directed verdict based on the State’s failure to prove that he knowingly trafficked cocaine. However, based on the conclusions reached in the previous claim of error, the COA rejects this argument.

3) Appellant finally argues that his custodial statement regarding his knowledge about the contents of the package were admitted in violation of Missouri v. Seibert. The COA holds that this argument is not preserved, because trial counsel acquiesced to the admissibility of the statement. Additionally, trial counsel never argued that the statements were inadmissible because of a Seibert violation, therefore the trial court never addressed the issue below.

Read the full opinion here.

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