What Does it Mean to Possess Drugs With the Intent to Distribute
Whenever there is a charge or indictment for possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, often times the main issue to be litigated is whether or not the government can prove an intent to distribute, according to drug attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA. For example, beyond claiming an observed hand to hand transaction, many times the government will allege that the presence of certain items make the case an intent to distribute rather than a mere possession case.
Some of the items that the government will look at to determine if there was an intent to distribute include: the presence of cutting instruments(cut product), various cell phones, numerous cut corner baggies, lists with numbers and/or names, as well as large amounts of both narcotics and cash. Usually the Commonwealth will utilize a police officer witness to testify in an expert capacity that the presence of some or all of the items listed above show that the drugs possessed were consistent with an intent to distribute.
Clearly, as the number of items listed above increases, the likelihood that the Commonwealth will be able to prove an intent to distribute also increases. For example, if the only allegation of an intent to distribute is the high quantity of drugs found, than that could obviously be indicative of someone who uses a lot of the drug, is not a dealer, and who possessed the drugs for personal use.
Similarly, as with any innocent items found with drugs, the central issue comes down to whether the items can be explained away, or whether the inescapable conclusion is that their presence shows that the drugs possessed are consistent with an intent to distribute. This is a fact driven determination and from a defense perspective less is obviously more.