Stone v. Commonwealth (P)

The circuit court did not err in ruling that the defendant didn’t qualify under the so-called “safety valve” provision of Code § 18.2- 248(C)2 for exemption from the three-year mandatory minimum sentences on four of the cocaine distribution offenses.

Stipulated evidence established that the defendant had been in actual or constructive possession of an AK-47 rifle at his residence during a period when four controlled drug buys between the defendant and the confidential informant took place. Absent any other evidence, the defendant plainly failed to carry his burden of establishing that he did not possess the firearm in connection with these four cocaine distribution offenses. Indeed, it was reasonable to draw the affirmative inference from the stipulated evidence that he did in fact possess the firearm for the protection of his illegal drug operation being conducted out of his residence.

Affirmed.

Stone v. Commonwealth (P), No. 180564, Feb. 21, 2019. SCV (per curiam), from CAV.



Categories: Opinions, Published, Supreme Court of Virginia

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