FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Hernando County, Daniel B.
Merritt, Jr., Judge.
S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Robert Jackson Pearce, III,
Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Deborah A. Chance,
Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.
Norwood was convicted of trafficking of a controlled
substance, i.e., morphine, in violation of section 893.135,
Florida Statutes (2017), and of knowing possession of a
conveyance used for trafficking in violation of section
893.1351, Florida Statutes (2017). He appeals only the latter
conviction, relying upon the concept of fundamental error
based upon a claimed lack of evidence. We affirm his
conviction, and explain why below.
was contacted by a confidential informant ("C.I.")
who arranged a rendezvous at a local convenience store where
the C.I. would purchase liquid morphine from Appellant. As
agreed, Appellant arrived alone in his maroon minivan, the
C.I. walked over to him, and money was exchanged for drugs.
Appellant remained in his vehicle while he conducted the
sales transaction. Once the C.I. had the drugs in hand,
Appellant drove his minivan out of the parking lot.
does not attack his trafficking conviction, but seeks
reversal of his conviction for the knowing possession of a
conveyance intended to be used in trafficking a controlled
substance. Appellant relies upon two cases from the Second
District, each holding that to sustain a conviction under
section 893.1351, there must be evidence of a nexus, beyond
mere transportation, between the use of a vehicle and the
sale, delivery, or trafficking of a controlled substance.
Because Appellant did not make this argument below, he relies
on the concept of fundamental error to excuse the lack of
preservation and to obtain reversal.
first case that Appellant relies upon from the Second
District is Delgado-George v. State, in which
deputies stopped the defendant's car in the parking lot
of a local bar and determined that he possessed seven
individual sale-size baggies of marijuana. 125 So.3d 1031,
1032–33 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013). One deputy testified that
the defendant told him that his original plan had been to
sell the drugs inside that very bar that early morning, but
the plan changed when the deputies stopped him in the
bar's parking lot. Id. at 1033. Delgado-George
denied making the statement and testified instead that his
plan was to meet a friend in the wee hours of the morning to
discuss buying a car. Id. The defendant said he had
never sold marijuana from his car before and had no such
intentions of doing so that morning. Id. The Second
District reversed the conveyance conviction, finding that
"there was nothing unique about this vehicle that would
indicate its intended use was to traffic, sell, or
manufacture controlled substances." Id. at
1034. The Second District declared the evidence proved only
that the car was being used for transportation, and was too
attenuated to prove that he intended to use his car for the
also relies upon a more recent Second District case,
Morris v. State, in which the defendant used his car
to complete the pickup of a UPS package containing over 200
grams of cocaine, which was addressed and delivered to him at
a bogus address. 264 So.3d 1036, 1037–38 (Fla. 2d DCA
2019). Citing to Delgado-George, the Second District
concluded that because there was no evidence that the vehicle
itself was a necessary component of trafficking, nor that
there was anything special about the vehicle, the evidence
was insufficient to sustain a conviction for possession of a
vehicle intended to be used for trafficking. Id. at
1038. In essence, it found that the presence of cocaine in
Morris's car was merely "happenstance, " which
would not prove that Morris intended to use the vehicle for
trafficking in controlled substances.
of whether we agree with the Second District's
conclusions in Delgado-George or Morris,
those cases provide no support for Appellant, who transported
the drugs in his van, actually sold the drugs while in his
vehicle, and delivered the drugs from within his vehicle to
the C.I. This was no happenstance as
Appellant intended to-and actually used-his minivan for the
trafficking of the liquid morphine. We find that the evidence
presented at trial was sufficient to sustain the conveyance
conviction; thus, there was neither fundamental error nor any
error at all in submitting the case to the jury, which in
turn convicted Appellant. Accordingly, we affirm.