CA10: Use of code words, and time spent with drug dealer, sufficient to support drug convictions

In United States v. Duran (opinion by Judge Bacharach), the Tenth Circuit upheld the defendant’s convictions for drug distribution offenses.

The evidence was sufficient, although the government offered no direct evidence the defendant possessed cocaine. In telephone conversations with a business associate, the defendant used code words apparently describing the conversion of powder cocaine into crack. The defendant met with the associate for over an hour, and then police engaged in three controlled purchases of crack cocaine from the associate. The court also upheld the admission of police expert testimony interpreting the code words.

For all of you appellate typography fans, you’ll appreciate that Judge Bacharach loves him some bullet points.

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