704 F.2d 420 (8th Cir. 1983), 82-2179, United States v. Wright

Docket Nº:82-2179.
Citation:704 F.2d 420
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Lee Autry WRIGHT, Appellant.
Case Date:April 14, 1983
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 420

704 F.2d 420 (8th Cir. 1983)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Lee Autry WRIGHT, Appellant.

No. 82-2179.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 14, 1983

Submitted Feb. 15, 1983.

Page 421

James K. Steitz, St. Louis, Mo., for appellant.

Thomas E. Dittmeier, U.S. Atty., Larry D. Hale, Asst. U.S. Atty., St. Louis, Mo., for appellee.

Before HEANEY, McMILLIAN and ARNOLD, Circuit Judges.


Lee Autry Wright appeals from his conviction for violating 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1) by possessing a controlled substance, pentazocine, with intent to distribute. Wright was sentenced to three years imprisonment to be followed by a special parole term of five years. We affirm.



In February, 1982, the St. Louis Police Department began an investigation of Wright for drug-related activities. In connection with this investigation, St. Louis police officers obtained a warrant on March 1, 1982, to search the residence located at 5276 Thrush for marijuana, cocaine and pentazocine. At approximately noon that same day, the police executed the warrant. Earline Guthrie and several small children were in the residence, but defendant Wright was not present.

During the search of the house, the police officers discovered in the first floor rear bedroom a locked safe and a dressing chair with a hollowed seat. The chair contained 200 tablets of pentazocine and 200 tablets of pyribenzamine, which produce a heroin-like

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effect when taken together. Guthrie informed the police officers that the safe belonged to defendant Wright. When Guthrie was unable to open the safe, the police officers photographed it and then placed it in the trunk of a police car.

While the police officers were loading the safe into the car, they observed Wright and another individual drive by the area. The police pursued the defendant, and eventually stopped his vehicle. He was arrested and advised of his constitutional rights. The police then took Wright back to 5276 Thrush. He initially refused to open the safe, but did so after the officers told him that they would force it open if he refused to cooperate. In the safe, the police found an additional 120 tablets of pentazocine and 120 tablets of pyribenzamine, $1,130 in cash, an airplane ticket in the defendant's name, and some of his personal papers.

On August 5, 1981, Wright...

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