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Barbosa v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

December 6, 2017

Adrian Vicente BARBOSA, Appellant
The STATE of Texas, Appellee

         From the 341st Judicial District Court, Webb County, Texas Trial Court No. 2015CRD001576 D3 Honorable Rebecca Ramirez Palomo, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Karen Angelini, Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice


          Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice

         This case stems from Appellant Adrian Vicente Barbosa's arrest for possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance-cocaine. On April 12, 2016, after finding Barbosa guilty on both counts, the jury assessed punishment at ten years' confinement in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. On appeal, Barbosa contends the evidence is insufficient to prove he possessed the contraband. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On November 20, 2014, Laredo Police Department Officer Jacqueline Siegfried received information from a confidential informant that hundreds of pounds of marijuana were being stored at a Webb County residence. The informant identified the residence by cross streets, and described it as a gray mobile home, with a chain link fence, and yellow caution tape on the fence.

         Officer Siegfried identified the location and conducted surveillance for approximately thirty minutes before approaching the residence. Officer Siegfried and her partner knocked on the front door, presented themselves as officers, and asked to enter the residence. Officer Siegfried testified that San Juanita, Barbosa's mother, answered the door and provided verbal consent for the officers to enter the residence. No contraband was located in the residence.

         Officer Siegfried described Barbosa as calm when he exited one of the bedrooms. As the officers exited the residence, Officer Siegfried noticed three vehicles in the front yard, each within the property's fence line. Officer Siegfried testified that as she approached one of the vehicles, a blue Crown Victoria, and stood within three feet of the vehicle, she could smell the odor of marijuana. Laredo Police Department K9 Officer Jose Santos Hinojosa Jr. also testified regarding the strong odor. Officer Siegfried further explained that the strongest smell emanated from the rear or trunk of the vehicle.

         Barbosa reported the vehicle belonged to a friend who passed away approximately one month earlier. Barbosa claimed the vehicle had been at his mother's residence for approximately a month; he was adamant that he neither owned the vehicle nor had a key to the vehicle. The K-9 officer walked the dog near the Crown Victoria and the dog immediately alerted to the rear of the vehicle.

         Officer Siegfried again inquired as to the vehicle's owner. Barbosa reported the vehicle was not his and that he did not see any problem with the officers opening the vehicle. Officer Siegfried testified,

[W]e asked him if there was any problem with us opening the vehicle. He said, no. That it wasn't his. So there is no problem. And we-we were able to get a slim jim to open the vehicle.

         The officers subsequently located nine bundles of marijuana, weighing approximately 160 pounds, and six to seven ounces of cocaine, in the trunk of the vehicle. Laredo Police Department Officer Miguel Angel Guantos testified the cocaine was valued at approximately $4, 800.00, and the marijuana at approximately $48, 000.00. The officers also located approximately $3, 000.00 in cash, receipts, digital scales typically used in drug transactions, cellophane rolls, paperwork, and a notebook, in the trunk. Officer Guantos further explained cellophane is commonly used "to avoid canine detection or conceal the odor, while at the same time you're containing the substance." When asked about the marijuana in the Crown Victoria's trunk, Officer Guantos described the marijuana as "very poorly wrapped" and "very green or new." He explained these two factors resulted in the strong smell outside of the vehicle.

         Officer Siegfried testified that she photographed the seized items before placing them in the Laredo Police Department property room. The photographs were admitted before the jury.

         The forensics officers collected fingerprints from the seized items. Two prints were suitable for comparison; one of the prints from the cellophane rolls matched Barbosa's prints. Although several of the items seized on the day in question were misplaced or inadvertently destroyed, the State offered photographs of the ledger and the receipts. During her testimony, Officer Siegfried identified the photographs and ...

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