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<TD>Conviction Upheld For Man Who Sold Fake Crack Cocaine
Taylor Given 4 Years Probation For Crime
September 22, 2005
DENVER -- A man who police said sold fake crack cocaine to at least two people in Denver several years ago was properly convicted of possession with intent to distribute an imitation controlled substance, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
Ronald Taylor, 43, appealed his conviction, saying there was no evidence that showed he told others he was selling them crack.
Taylor, who was sentenced to four years of probation, was arrested shortly after the apparent drug deal, and after a pat-down search, gave officers what appeared to be rocks of crack cocaine.
The substance turned out to be crushed acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, but prosecutors charged Taylor with distribution and possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to sell an imitation controlled substance. The jury acquitted him of the first two charges.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court said the evidence showed that Taylor knew or should have known that the items he was selling could be perceived to be illegal drugs.
Taylor had argued that to support a conviction, prosecutors had to prove he
told others he was selling crack cocaine. The ruling, however, said state law requires the jury to look at the circumstances surrounding the sale of imitation drugs, and it said there was enough evidence to support the conviction.
That means a conviction is possible if the defendant knows that people could believe an item is an illegal drug based on its appearance.
"Here, the acetaminophen was formed and packaged in a manner normally used for illicit controlled substances, defendant was observed using evasive tactics to conceal it in his pants, and defendant was observed engaging in a transaction similar to that ordinarily used for `street level' narcotics sales," the ruling said.
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