In 2001, while driving his girlfriend’s car, Marlos Magee rear-ended a Harrison County deputy sheriff’s car. Because he had no driver’s license, Magee was taken into custody and transported to the police station. The vehicle Magee was driving was impounded and an inventory search was conducted at the scene of the accident.
During the inventory search, Office Tim Huguet found a purple Crown Royal bag stuffed beside and partially under the driver’s seat. Officer Huguet believed the substance found in the bag was cocaine and conducted a field test to confirm his suspicions. The substance was later weighed and confirmed to be 0.8 grams of cocaine.
Detective Ricky Dedeaux of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics questioned Magee for approximately one hour. According to Dedeaux, Magee confessed to possession of the cocaine. At trial, Magee denied confessing to Dedeaux.
Magee was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to five years. On appeal, he argued he was not in possession of the drugs. MCOA affirmed.
Mere physical proximity to the contraband does not, in itself, show constructive possession, as stated in Cunningham v. State, 583 So. 2d 960 (Miss. 1991). However, in this case, there were other factors in this case to be considered by the jury.
Unlike the situation in Cunningham, Magee was the sole occupant of the vehicle where the drugs were found. There was testimony that the bag containing the drugs was visible upon looking in the car, in addition to the testimony that Magee confessed to possession of the drugs.