State v. Woodard, 210 N.C. App. 725 (Apr. 5, 2011)

In a case arising from a pharmacy break-in, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss trafficking in opium charges because the State did not present a chemical analysis of the pills. Citing State v. Ward, 364 N.C. 133 (2010), and State v. Llamas-Hernandez, 363 N.C. 8 (2009), the court determined that State is not required to conduct a chemical analysis on a controlled substance in order to sustain a conviction under G.S. 90-95(h)(4), provided it has established the identity of the controlled substance beyond a reasonable doubt by another method of identification. In the case at hand, the State’s evidence did that. The drug store’s pharmacist manager testified that 2,691 tablets of hydrocodone acetaminophen, an opium derivative, were stolen from the pharmacy. He testified that he kept “a perpetual inventory” of all drug items. Using that inventory, he could account for the type and quantity of every item in inventory throughout the day, every day. Accordingly, he was able to identify which pill bottles were stolen from the pharmacy by examining his inventory against the remaining bottles, because each bottle was labeled with a sticker identifying the item, the date it was purchased and a partial of the pharmacy’s account number. These stickers, which were on every pill bottle delivered to the pharmacy, aided the pharmacist in determining that 2,691 tablets of hydrocodone acetaminophen were stolen. He further testified, based on his experience and knowledge as a pharmacist, that the weight of the stolen 2,691 pill tablets was approximately 1,472 grams. Based on his 35 years of experience dispensing the same drugs that were stolen and his unchallenged and uncontroverted testimony regarding his detailed pharmacy inventory tracking process, the pharmacist’s identification of the stolen drugs as more than 28 grams of opium derivative hydrocodone acetaminophen was sufficient evidence to establish the identity and weight of the stolen drugs and was not analogous to the visual identifications found to be insufficient in Ward and Llamas–Hernandez.