C. J., MILLER, P. J., and REESE, J.
Gordon County jury found Mark Calcaterra guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt of trafficking in cocaine, OCGA §
16-13-31 (a) (1) (C), and possession of marijuana with intent
to distribute, OCGA § 16-13-30 (j) (1). He appeals from
the trial court's denial of his motion for new trial,
contending that there was insufficient evidence to support
his conviction. For the reasons set forth, infra, we affirm.
On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the verdict and an appellant no
longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. This Court
determines whether the evidence is sufficient under the
standard of Jackson v. Virginia,  and does not
weigh the evidence or determine witness credibility. Any
conflicts or inconsistencies in the evidence are for the jury
to resolve. As long as there is some competent evidence, even
though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make
out the State's case, we must uphold the jury's
in this light, the evidence showed that, at approximately
9:40 p.m. on March 27, 2012, the Appellant was a passenger in
a car driven by his wife, Nakenya Calcaterra (hereinafter,
"Ms. Calcaterra"), as they traveled northbound on
I-75 in Gordon County. A law enforcement officer conducted a
traffic stop,  approached the passenger side of the car,
and obtained Ms. Calcaterra's Illinois driver's
license. When the officer asked Ms. Calcaterra if she owned
the vehicle, she first said that it belonged to her
brother-in-law. When the officer asked her for the
registration, however, she backtracked and said that her
brother-in-law had rented the car and loaned it to her. The
rental agreement showed that a person named "Gary
Owens" had rented the car in Ohio. According to the
officer, while he was speaking with Ms. Calcaterra, he
observed that the Appellant was looking straight ahead, his
hands were "clench[ing]" a cell phone, and he did
not participate in the conversation.
officer asked Ms. Calcaterra to step out of the vehicle so he
could determine if she was impaired, and she complied. The
officer asked her why she had traveled to Georgia, and Ms.
Calcaterra gave conflicting answers about when she had driven
down and whom she had been visiting. She also told the
officer that her passenger was a friend who had traveled with
her on the trip, but then immediately told him, instead, that
her friend had been staying in Georgia before she came down
and that he was now riding back to Ohio with her.
officer walked to the passenger-side window and asked the
Appellant if he had any identification. The Appellant
responded that he did not, but said that his name was Mark
Calcaterra. When asked how he knew Ms. Calcaterra, the
Appellant said that she was his wife and that they had been
married since 2005. The Appellant expressed surprise when the
officer told him that Ms. Calcaterra had said he was just a
friend. When asked why he was in Georgia, the Appellant told
the officer that he came down to visit family members.
upon the couple's inconsistent responses, the officer
suspected that there might be contraband in the vehicle, and
he obtained the consent of both Ms. Calcaterra and the
Appellant to search the car. When the officer started looking
around the passenger compartment of the car, he smelled an
odor that he recognized as the smell of raw marijuana. While
searching the trunk, the officer observed two small, plastic
grocery bags - one containing men's clothing and the
other containing women's clothing. The officer also
discovered over 554 grams of cocaine of at least 60 percent
purity and over 445 grams of marijuana hidden in the
trunk's side panels.
officer arrested the Appellant and Ms. Calcaterra, and the
State jointly indicted them, charging them with trafficking
in cocaine and possession of marijuana with intent to
distribute. In addition to the evidence concerning the
traffic stop, as recounted above, the following evidence was
presented during their joint trial.
Appellant and his wife had seven children between the ages of
five months and eighteen years, as well as two grandchildren.
In March 2012, the Appellant was physically disabled and was
not employed, while Ms. Calcaterra worked delivering pizza.
The couple was experiencing financial troubles and were
behind in paying their rent, car payment, and other bills to
the extent that they were feeling "desperate."
According to Ms. Calcaterra, the financial problems were
causing her and the Appellant to fight a lot, so they decided
to take a "spur-of-the-moment" trip "to get
away for a little while" and spend time together.
couple borrowed a car from the Appellant's brother, left
their children and grandchildren in his care, and started
driving to Georgia just after midnight on March 27, 2012.
They drove to the home of the Appellant's cousin in
Atlanta, arriving at about 10:00 a.m. The couple took a nap,
and then the Appellant watched television with his cousin for
the rest of the day. Ms. Calcaterra, however, left for a few
hours before returning to the cousin's house that
evening. She picked up the Appellant, and they started
driving back to Ohio. As they were leaving, the Appellant
told his cousin that he had to "go handle some
business." They then traveled for less than an hour
before the traffic stop took place. In addition, Ms.
Calcaterra admitted that, despite their serious financial
troubles, they spent at least $140 on gas and food between
leaving Ohio around midnight and the traffic stop later that
evening, for the sole purpose of spending a few hours with
considering the evidence, the jury found both the Appellant
and Ms. Calcaterra guilty of trafficking in cocaine and
possession of marijuana with intent to
distribute. The trial court denied the Appellant's
motion for new trial, and this appeal followed.
Appellant argues that the evidence showed that he was merely
present in the car and did not know that the drugs were
hidden in the trunk.
A participant to a crime may be convicted although he is not
the person who directly commits the crime. A person who
intentionally aids or abets in the commission of a crime or
intentionally advises, encourages, hires, counsels or
procures another to commit the crime may be convicted of the
crime as a party to the crime. Mere presence at the scene is
not sufficient to convict one of being a party to a crime,