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Court Rules Sharing Drugs Is Distribution


January 1995

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that a defendant who bought drugs to share with his friends could be charged with possession with intent to distribute (United States v. Washington, 41 F.3d 917, Nov. 4, 1994; Drug Enforcement Report, Dec. 23, 1994, p. 8).

When Raymond Washington's car was searched by police, they found crack cocaine. Washington said that he bought the cocaine with some money that friends gave him and that he was planning to share the drugs with them.

The court ruled that the distribution of drugs can mean more than the sale of drugs. Although "the purchase was part of a joint venture to use the drug ... sharing drugs with another constitutes distribution."