Gang Members Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Five gang members received prison sentences for trafficking illegal drugs into state prisons in Virginia, reported WRIC.
This drug trafficking scheme involved the distribution and possession with intent to distribute several illegal drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. The gang members leveraged the assistance of Virginia Department of Corrections officers and staff to smuggle drugs and other contraband into several prisons.
The Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) worked together to investigate this criminal conspiracy. The investigation revealed that this gang has a wide area of operations, stretching from Connecticut to Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. The gang’s leaders oversee the operation from New York, providing instructions to subordinates in other states.
For their participation in this drug trafficking conspiracy, the gang members received varying prison sentences. Specifically:
- A 48-year-old gang member received a sentence of 12 years in prison;
- A 37-year-old gang member received a sentence of 12 years in prison;
- A 30-year-old gang member received a sentence of 41 months in prison;
- A 29-year-old gang member received a sentence of 20 years in prison; and
- A 28-year-old gang member received a sentence of 24 months in prison.
Considering the impact of this drug trafficking conspiracy, it seems like an ideal time to review several relevant Virginia laws and penalties.
Definition of Drug Trafficking in Virginia
Code of Virginia § 18.2-248 prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or sale of illegal drugs. It is also illegal to possess large amounts of illegal drugs with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or sell. Furthermore, trafficking laws in Virginia include imitation substances that are functionally similar to illegal drugs.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Virginia
Section 18.2-248 also establishes the penalty structure for drug trafficking in Virginia. That being said, the penalties change based on the circumstances of the offense, such as the type or amount of illegal drugs in questions.
For example, the manufacture, distribution, or sale of a Schedule I or II controlled substance — such as cocaine, crack, or heroin — is always treated as a felony crime. But the penalties change based on the number of offenses:
- First Offense — Punishable by five to 40 years in prison and $500,000 in fines;
- Second Offense — Punishable by five years to life in prison and $500,000 in fines; and
- Third or Subsequent Offense — Punishable by 10 years to life in prison and $500,000 in fines.
Furthermore, Section 18.2-248 requires specific penalties for the manufacture, distribution, or sale of large amounts of certain illegal drugs. In larger quantities, a drug trafficking conviction may result in five years to life in prison and $1,000,000 in fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about drug trafficking or other criminal offenses, it is exceedingly beneficial to speak with an adept criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, are well-versed in fighting drug charges in Virginia. If you need legal help with drug charges or other areas of criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.