Thanks to movies and television, it is easy to imagine someone accused of a crime attempting to conceal the evidence. Police in Tennessee however, are accusing one man of taking his attempt to another level. According to the reports, the authorities indicated that while searching the man he grabbed a bag of drugs and swallowed them. The man is now facing drug charges.

According to police, the search happened at the jail the man was being held in. He was arrested for a crack cocaine charge. Authorities claim that when the man was searched a bag of white power fell out of his shoe and he grabbed it and swallowed it before they could reach it. As a result, the man was also charged with tampering with evidence.

Generally, drug possession laws fall into two separate categories. The first, simple possession, encompasses those who possess drugs for their own use. The second category, possession with intent to distribute, includes those who may not use drugs at all, but may attempt to sell them. In either event, whether a person is charged with the use of drugs or the intent to distribute them, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was aware that the drug was a controlled substance and that the person knowingly had possession or control over the drug.

The law usually comes down harder on those charged and found guilty of possession with intent to distribute. A conviction usually results in more severe penalties when compared to simple possession charges. The policy reasoning behind the harsher penalties is that they will deter drug dealers. When trying to prove possession with intent to sell, prosecutors have to show convincing evidence that the defendant was in fact attempting to sell the drugs. Therefore, it is common for prosecutors to present evidence such as digital scales, baggies, a large volume of the drug the defendant was found with, large amounts of cash in small bills or testimony from witnesses.

So far, police have not charged the man in this case with intent to distribute. However, if the man had been found with other evidence police may have attempted to bring a distribution charge. It is important for those charged with a drug offense to understand their legal rights. Otherwise, a minor charge could escalate into serious consequences.

Source: New Channel 5, “Police: Man Eats Drugs During Search At Jail,” March 11, 2013