Drug Crime Suspected After Drone Leaves Package At Virginia School
An attempted drug crime went sideways in Virginia, after a drone mistakenly dropped a package of cannabis and other items at a Virginia school instead of a nearby prison, according to an article by WTVR.
This incident occurred on Monday, September 13, just before 6 a.m. A witness allegedly saw a drone descend onto school grounds with a package. Shortly afterward, the witness claims that a car drove up, and someone got out and retrieved the drone. They left the package on school grounds where the drone landed.
Police later determined that the package contained cannabis as well as a charging cable, mobile phones, and tobacco. The initial investigation indicated that the package was destined for a nearby privately operated correctional facility. The police will continue to investigate this incident, as the perpetrators of and motives behind this incident remain unclear.
Although the perpetrators of this crime remain at large, if arrested, they will likely face criminal charges for the unlawful distribution of cannabis under Virginia law. In that light, it seems appropriate to review the Virginia laws against and punishment for cannabis distribution crimes.
Virginia Laws Against Distribution of Cannabis
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.1 makes it illegal to distribute, sell, or give away cannabis. This section also prohibits the possession of cannabis with the intent to distribute, sell, or give away. There are limited exemptions, though, for approved purposes under the Drug Control Act.
Concerning the intent to distribute, Section 18.2-248.1 offers important guidance. This section establishes a rebuttable presumption involving personal use that does not qualify as an intent to distribute. Cannabis possession of one ounce or less is considered personal use under Section 18.2-248.1. But it is possible to overcome this presumption with evidence that indicates an intent to distribute.
Virginia Punishment for Distribution of Cannabis
Section 18.2-248.1 also provides the penalties for unlawful distribution of cannabis, which fluctuates based on various factors. Generally speaking, any person who commits a cannabis distribution crime with respect to:
- One ounce or less — Will face Class 1 misdemeanor charges and the possibility of 12 months in jail and criminal fines up to $2,500;
- Between one ounce and five pounds — Will face Class 5 felony charges and the possibility of one to 10 years in prison and criminal fines up to $2,500; or
- More than five pounds — Will face felony charges and the possibility of five to 30 years in prison and criminal fines.
That being said, there is an enhanced penalty for certain repeat offenders. This enhanced penalty only applies to individuals charged with at least two prior felony violations of this section. Upon the third or subsequent felony violation, the punishment increases to a prison sentence of five years to life and criminal fines up to $500,000.
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If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Reach out to the Leesburg drug crime attorneys at Simms Showers for a consultation.