Unpublished Disposition, 867 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1989)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 867 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1989)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Dennis Joseph LASTRA, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 87-1385.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted*  Jan. 26, 1989.Decided Jan. 30, 1989.

Before HUG, SCHROEDER and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Dennis Joseph Lastra, pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), appeals his conviction following a jury trial for possession of an unregistered firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d), 5811, and 5845(A) (6) and (B). Lastra contends there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict that he possessed the firearm. We affirm.

Lastra's former business partner testified that he had seen Lastra in possession of the gun and that Lastra had said he did not want to be caught with it. Although Lastra was not the only person to occupy the apartment or pay the rent, he was the one who had signed the lease. In addition, the day before the gun was seized, Lastra contacted the landlord and attempted to make arrangements with the landlord to remove his belongings from the apartment.

Constructive possession exists when the defendant has knowledge of the object's presence combined with the power to exercise dominion and control over it. United States v. Rodriguez, 761 F.2d 1339, 1341 (9th Cir. 1985); Williams v. United States, 418 F.2d 159, 162 (9th Cir. 1969), aff'd, 401 U.S. 646 (1971). Knowledge and control may be established by circumstantial evidence. United States v. Castillo, No. 87-5042 slip op. 159, 190 (January 11, 1989).

Here, Lastra's knowledge about the weapon is apparent from his statement that he did not want to be caught with it. See id. In addition, because Lastra paid the rent and attempted to make arrangements to remove his belongings from the apartment the day before the weapon was seized, he had the power to exercise dominion and control over the gun, and thus was in constructive possession of the firearm. See id.; cf. Rodriguez, 761 F.2d at 1341 (only connection to the contraband was presence in the room).

Based upon these facts, Lastra's conviction is supported by sufficient evidence and therefore, we affirm.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for disposition without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3