NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 2, 2013.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 09-10-2910.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Suzannah Brown, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Carolyn A. Murray, Acting Essex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Andrew Robert Burroughs, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Fuentes and Fasciale.
Defendant appeals from his convictions for two counts of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a; two counts of third-degree distribution of CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1); and two counts of third-degree distribution of CDS within 1000 feet of a school, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. We affirm.
This case involves two hand-to-hand controlled drug buys in a school zone between defendant and a detective. The judge conducted a jury trial on four days in June 2010. The State produced testimony from Detectives Derwin Beckles and Anthony Ricks, and introduced into evidence a DVD documenting the drug transactions. Defendant did not testify or produce witnesses. We discern the following facts from the evidence adduced at trial.
On July 1, 2009, undercover agent Detective Beckles approached defendant in front of a restaurant while Detective Ricks watched from a nearby location. Defendant removed two green Ziploc bags containing cocaine from his mouth and handed them to Detective Beckles in exchange for twenty dollars. Detective Beckles then turned over the bags to Detective Ricks, who observed the transaction. This controlled drug buy was documented by a recording device worn by Detective Beckles and the recording was shown to the jury.
On July 4, 2009, Detective Beckles, who was driving an unmarked police car, observed defendant walking a dog and pulled over near a parked vehicle. Defendant approached the detective, removed two Ziploc bags containing cocaine from his pocket, and handed them to Detective Beckles in exchange for twenty dollars. Like the previous incident, the camera documented this transaction, which Detective Ricks also observed.
The jury found defendant guilty as charged. The judge granted the State's motion for an extended term and imposed an aggregate eight-year prison term with four years of parole ineligibility. This appeal followed.
On appeal, defendant raises the ...