MILLER, P. J., ANDREWS and BROWN, JJ.
Woods appeals from his convictions of possession of cocaine
with intent to distribute, possession of less than an ounce
of marijuana, and possession of drug related objects. In his
sole enumeration of error on appeal, he asserts that the
trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence
seized pursuant to a search warrant because the magistrate
who issued the warrant was not presented with information
establishing a confidential informant's basis of
knowledge and reliability. For the reasons explained below,
we find no merit in the claim of error and affirm.
search warrant will only issue upon facts sufficient to show
probable cause that a crime is being committed or has been
committed. OCGA § 17-5-21 (a)." State v.
Palmer, 285 Ga. 75, 77 (673 S.E.2d 237) (2009).
The magistrate's task in determining if probable cause
exists to issue a search warrant is simply to make a
practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the
circumstances set forth in the affidavit before him,
including the "veracity" and "basis of
knowledge" of persons supplying hearsay information,
there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a
crime will be found in a particular place. Our duty in
reviewing the magistrate's decision in this case is to
determine if the magistrate had a "substantial
basis" for concluding that probable cause existed to
issue the search warrants. A magistrate's decision to
issue a search warrant based on a finding of probable cause
is entitled to substantial deference by a reviewing court.
The test for probable cause is not a hypertechnical one to be
employed by legal technicians, but is based on the
"factual and practical considerations of everyday life
on which reasonable and prudent men act." Moreover, even
doubtful cases should be resolved in favor of upholding a
(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Taylor v.
State, 303 Ga. 57, 60 (2) (810 S.E.2d 113) (2018). When
making a determination of probable cause, a magistrate can
also consider an officer's oral testimony to
"supplement facts presented in [the] affidavit."
In re A. Z., 301 Ga.App. 524, 527 (1) (a), n. 10
(687 S.E.2d 887) (2009).
Where the State seeks to show probable cause through
information gained from an unidentified informant, the
informant's veracity and basis of knowledge are major
considerations in the probable cause analysis. . . . [T]here
is no absolute requirement that a search warrant affiant
state circumstances which demonstrate the reliability of the
informant and his information. Those factors are highly
relevant considerations, but the applicable test is based on
the totality of the circumstances.
(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Evans v. State,
263 Ga.App. 572, 574-575 (2) (b) (588 S.E.2d 764) (2003).
"Under the common sense approach to search warrants, a
controlled buy strongly corroborates the reliability of the
informant and shows a fair probability that the contraband
would be found. . . ." (Citations and punctuation
omitted.) Palmer, 285 Ga. at 78-79. Indeed,
"even if the informant had no known credibility, the
controlled buy conducted under the observation of the officer
alone, would have been sufficient to establish probable
cause." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Ibekilo
v. State, 277 Ga.App. 384, 385 (1) (626 S.E.2d 592)
affidavit at issue in this case states:
In the past seventy two hours a confidential and reliable
informant . . . contacted your affiant. In the past 72 hours
CI# 59 did conduct a cont[r]olled purchase of crack cocaine
utilizing Lamar County Sheriff's Office funds inside the
residence [to be searched]. CI# 59 advised that the subject
identified as Rodney Woods often kept an amount of crack
cocaine in the residence that was kept for sale.
Independent investigation by your affiant revealed the
following. Physical observation of the premises, conducted
from a public place revealed the premises to match the above
locations. CI# 59 is reliable because CI# 59 has purchased an
amount of narcotics for your affiant.
the motion to suppress hearing, the officer
testified that he provided the following additional
information under oath to the magistrate: the confidential
informant was searched before walking to Woods' residence
to make the buy with money supplied by the police; an officer
or officers watched the confidential informant "go into
the residence and come back out"; an officer or officers
"didn't directly follow right behind them, but we
kept a loose tail, making sure not to lose sight and watched
them go in"; an officer or officers saw the confidential
informant come out "[a]nd after he came out, they
provided us with a phone call and advised that they had just
come out and they were on their way back to the location
where we previously had met"; the confidential informant
had a substance believed to be an illegal drug in his
possession after he left Woods' residence; the officer
had used the confidential informant on "two previous
occasions, two previous cases, multiple times"; and the
confidential informant was "working off a drug
charge" by helping the police.
upon this evidence, the magistrate had sufficient information
to find that probable cause existed for the issuance of the
search warrant. Brown v. State, 244 Ga.App. 440, 442
(1) (535 S.E.2d 785) (2000) (sufficient information existed
for issuance of search warrant based "on the controlled
buy in which [the officer] sent the informant into the
apartment with no contraband, and the informant returned with
cocaine"). Woods asserts that "it appears
the CI was not watched from the time he came out of the
residence until rejoining police with the drugs."
(Emphasis supplied.) The testimony relied upon by Woods to
support this assertion relates to communication from the
informant after the controlled buy. This testimony does not
demand a conclusion that the informant was out of sight after
leaving Woods' residence, and other testimony by the
officer shows that law enforcement watched the informant
"go into the residence and come back out." "To
establish probable cause for the issuance of a search
warrant, the officers were not required to see drugs at the
residence. Probable cause does not demand the certainty we
associate with formal trials." (Citation and punctuation
omitted.) State v. Alvin, 296 Ga.App. 402, 404 (674
S.E.2d 348) (2009). And "[e]ven doubtful cases should be
resolved in favor of upholding a magistrate's
determination that a warrant is proper." (Citation and
punctuation omitted.) Palmer, 285 Ga. at
Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's denial of
Woods' motion to suppress.