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ALFONSO WILLIAMS AND LARRY WILLIAMS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JANUARY 30, 1985

ALFONSO WILLIAMS AND LARRY WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE, PATTERSON, C.J.; DAN M. LEE AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This case involves two brothers who were engaged in a small time sale of an illegal controlled substance. On sharply conflicting evidence, the jury convicted and under our established rules when we are considering on appeal the sufficiency of the evidence to support jury verdicts, we must affirm. In this sense, this case is unremarkable.

Here as in many other drug cases we find the State developing its case and presenting its evidence at trial

 through the use of a confidential informant. There is a disquieting feature of such activity in this case in that the informant, an ex-drug offender himself, was paid on a contingency fee basis. The potential for a miscarriage of justice in such cases is obvious.

 Upon mature consideration of the matter, however, we have concluded that so long as the full facts and circumstances of the State's arrangement with its" bounty hunter "are disclosed to the jury, we will not disturb a subsequent conviction. Here as elsewhere the question of the credibility of witnesses is uniquely the province of the jury. Because the circumstances involving the paid confidential informant here were submitted to the jury, we affirm.

 II.

 A.

 Larry and Alfonso Williams have been convicted of the sale of an illegal controlled substance, to-wit: marijuana in violation of Miss. Code Ann. 41-29-139(a)(1) (Supp. 1984). That statute makes it unlawful in this state for any person to" sell, barter, [or] transfer "marijuana.

 At the outset we note that substantial knowing participation in the consummation of a sale or in arranging for the sale may render one guilty of the illegal sale of unlawful controlled substances within Section 41-29-139. One who aids and abets another in such a context is an accessory before the fact and is guilty as a principal. Sanders v. State, 439 So.2d 1271, 1275 (Miss. 1983); McGowan v. State, 375 So.2d 987, 990 (Miss. 1979); Landers v. State, 304 So.2d 641, 642 (Miss. 1974).

 Moreover, the mere fact that no profit has been earned on the sale avails defendant nothing. In Booner v. State, 291 So.2d 182 (Miss. 1974), the Court noted

 It is certainly true that the defendant did not realize a profit on the transaction but Miss. Code Ann. 41-29-139(c)(2)(1972) does not contemplate that the seller must realize a profit in order to be guilty of the sale of a controlled substance. The statute simply says that the crime occurs whenever a controlled substance is transferred or delivered in exchange for remuneration, whether in money or other consideration. 291 So.2d at 184

 B.

 These principles well in mind, we consider the evidence, as we must, in the light most favorable to the State. On February 11, 1983, narcotics agent Bill Mayo and paid confidential informant Billy Saulters asked Alfonso Williams and Larry Williams to locate for them a quarter pound of marijuana. Prior to that time, Saulters had made the acquaintance of Larry Williams. Larry had subsequently introduced Alfonso, his brother, to both Agent Mayo and the confidential informer Saulter.

 On February 11, 1983, the Williams brothers met with Mayo and Saulter in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Based on previous discussions between Alfonso and Mayo, the purpose was to consummate the purchase of marijuana. The Williamses instructed Mayo and Saulters to follow them, each twosome in their respective automobiles.

 A short time later, the cars stopped and Larry got out of Alfonso's car and got into the car with Agent Mayo. Alfonso was gone about twenty minutes and returned with an unidentified person, each in his respective car. During the interim, Larry conferred with Mayo and Saulters and assured them of the quality and quantity of the ...


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