State v. Steele, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 487 (Jul. 3, 2018)

The evidence was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of trafficking in cocaine by possession. At issue was whether the defendant constructively possessed the cocaine, found in the drawer of a bedroom dresser. Among other things, the defendant lived with Cunningham at the home. The two shared the bedroom, which also contained drug paraphernalia and illegal contraband, and was padlocked from the outside to prevent entry. The defendant and Cunningham had the only keys to the padlock. Officers found more than $400 of cash on the nightstand and a box near the nightstand contained latex gloves, a pair of goggles, and 2 boxes of plastic baggies, which the jury could infer were used to manufacture, package, or otherwise distribute crack cocaine. A reasonable juror could infer from Cunningham’s statements that she did not put the cocaine in the dresser. Moreover she stated that the cocaine did not belong to her. The jury could reasonably infer that the defendant, the only other individual with access to the bedroom, was the person who had control and dominion over the cocaine. Additionally, the defendant’s knowledge of the weight of cocaine found in the bedroom, as demonstrated by his conversation with another person, is another incriminating circumstance from which the jury could find constructive possession of cocaine.