Most people probably already understand that the possession of illegal drugs in Florida, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin, is a serious criminal offense. But many may not be aware that there is a wide variety of criminal offenses related to drug possession and transactions, the applicability of which depend on the specific situation. In Davis v. State, Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal explains the difference between drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit drug trafficking.
Chad Davis was convicted of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. At trial, the prosecution presented evidence showing that Robert Adams asked Major Moten to check with Davis to see if he was selling cocaine. According to the evidence presented, Moten confirmed that Adams did indeed have cocaine for sale and gave Davis' telephone number to Adams. Davis and Adams allegedly agreed over the phone to conduct two cocaine transactions on two separate days. After completing the transactions, Adams was reported to have solid the cocaine to an unidentified third party.
Although a jury found Davis guilty on two trafficking charges and one conspiracy charge, the Fifth District ruled on appeal that the evidence was not sufficient to support the conspiracy conviction.
As the court explained, a person who knowingly sells, purchases or delivers 28 grams or more of cocaine, or is simply in possession of this amount of cocaine, is guilty of trafficking. Conspiracy to commit the offense, on the other hand, occurs when two or more people agree or conspire to commit trafficking. "[T]he State's evidence must show that the defendant entered into an agreement with another to commit the crime and intended to commit the crime," the court explained, quoting its 2009 decision in Green v. State.
In this case, the evidence did not establish a conspiracy involving Davis and Adams because it didn't show that they agreed to commit the same crime. "Instead, the evidence simply established the planning and execution of a buy-sell transaction between the defendant and Adams," the court ruled. In other words, according to the court, the discussions between Davis and Adams showed that each man intended to commit a different criminal act: Davis the sale of cocaine, and Adams its purchase. There was no evidence, furthermore, that Davis was aware of or consented to Adams' plan to sell the cocaine to a third party.