The residence of defendant Dewain “Bubba” Jenkins was searched by the Neshoba County sheriff, a deputy, and agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in 1996. A search warrant had been acquired based on information provided by a confidential informant. Jenkins was there with his girlfriend and their small child.
In bedrooms the officers found four weapons, a pill bottle with two rock-like substances, and substantial cash. In the kitchen were mechanical and electronic scales, crystal methamphetamine in a cloth bag, and a book on how to manufacture crystal methamphetamine. A “Scotch- Guard” aerosol can that could be opened and items hidden inside, that a bureau of narcotics officer stated was a type of container commonly used to hide drugs, along with an address book that the State argued revealed Jenkins’s customers, were also discovered.
At trial Terry Buse, who had purchased methamphetamine from Jenkins months before the search, testified as to his purchases, and that he had agreed to work undercover with the bureau of narcotics. Another witness testified that she purchased methamphetamine on the West Coast and in Montana for delivery to Jenkins to sell in Mississippi. The drugs were sent by commercial overnight delivery services and other means.
Jenkins was convicted of possession of amphetamines with intent to sell while in possession of firearms and sentenced to 30 years. On appeal, he argued the identity of the informant should have been disclosed. MCOA affirmed.
A. Disclosure of identity of confidential informant
Disclosure of an informant’s identity shall not be required unless the confidential informant is to be produced at a hearing or trial or failure to disclose his/her identity will infringe the constitutional rights of the accused or unless the informant was or depicts himself/herself as an eyewitness to the event or events constituting the charge against the defendant.
If in every possession case in which a confidential informant was involved, the defendant merely by alleging that the drugs were planted could require the disclosure of the informant’s name, the important privilege for informants would be destroyed.
We are not saying that in a possession case in which the accused argues planted evidence, that a court is always within its discretion to deny the request. We only hold that we find no such abuse here.
B. Quantity of drugs found too small to permit inference of intent to sell
What was discovered in Jenkins’ house was only trace amounts of amphetamine (.04 grams) in a pill bottle, while another bottle contained 17.40 grams of methamphetamine mixed with amphetamine. The state crime lab witness said the .04 was a usable quantity, but acknowledged that it was “a very small amount.”
Jenkins argues that this small amount takes away any presumption that Jenkins was possessing the drugs with the intent to sell. It is true that a large quantity of drugs can by itself create the inference of an intent to sell. The existence of only a small quantity, though, does not remove the possibility of inferring intent.
To analyze the evidence completely, it is necessary to consider that various items usable in drug manufacture were also found: two sets of scales, a book on manufacturing methamphetamine, one weapon in the same bag as some of the drugs, three other weapons, and a large amount of cash.
Each of these is considered consistent with distribution of drugs and can be considered by a fact-finder as evidence of intent.