To Convict a Person for Sale of Drugs It Should Be Established That He Intentionally and Directly Assisted In It
In People v. Bello, 92 N.Y.2d 523, 683 N.Y.S.2d 168, 705 N.E.2d 1209 (1998), the court addressed the evidence required to establish a prima facie case for participation in the sale of drugs.
The key to the analysis, the court said, was whether a defendant "intentionally and directly assisted in achieving the ultimate goal of the enterprise - the alleged sale of a narcotic drug". 92 N.Y.2d at 526.
In that case the defendant's response to the undercover's request for crack - "how many you looking for?" and "are you a cop?" - was found sufficient to demonstrate defendant's intentional involvement with the transaction.
The court found such conduct analogous to that of "steerers" and "go-betweens".
It is noteworthy that the court distinguished the case from People v. Rosario, 193 A.D.2d 445, 597 N.Y.S.2d 357 (1st Dept.), lv. den., 82 N.Y.2d 708 (1993), in which the Appellate Division reversed a conviction after trial.
The Bello court implied that in Rosario the defendant was merely acting as a source of general information as to where drugs could be purchased.