Virginia Jury Convicts 2 In Massive Drug Trafficking Case
A federal jury returned guilty verdicts in a massive drug trafficking case that spanned from Texas to Virginia, according to a press release from the Department of Justice (DoJ).
This case traces back to January 2016, when a Virginia man began coordinating a widespread drug trafficking conspiracy crime. Court documents indicate that this man leveraged a web of drug distributors to transport narcotic drugs from Texas to Lynchburg, Virginia. As this conspiracy continued over time, the Virginia man would even meet distributors in Charlotte, North Carolina, before returning to Lynchburg with large quantities of narcotic drugs.
Prosecutors indicated that this man was responsible for transporting kilograms worth or narcotics for distribution across Central Virginia. It seems that the Virginia man and his co-conspirators were also involved in other violent crimes on top of drug trafficking.
This case was the result of a multi-agency effort coordinated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. Created in 1982 by the United States Attorney General’s Office, this program aims to combat large-scale drug distribution/trafficking and money laundering. Operating across the United States, OCDETF integrates the resources and experience of law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.
More specifically, the Lynchburg Police Department, Virginia State Police, Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Lynchburg, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) collaborated to complete the investigation in this case.
Although this development involves federal law, it also provides a suitable lens to examine the Virginia laws against and penalties for drug trafficking.
Drug Trafficking Laws in Virginia
The state laws against drug trafficking appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.01. This section makes it illegal for any person to transport specific amounts of certain controlled substances into Virginia with intent to sell or distribute.
But a person’s conduct only qualifies as drug trafficking under Section 18.2-248.01 if they transport at least:
- One ounce of cocaine, coca leaves, or similar;
- One ounce of any Schedule I or II controlled substance; or
- Five pounds of cannabis.
Drug Trafficking Penalties in Virginia
The Virginia penalties for drug trafficking also appear under Section 18.2-248.01. Each violation of this section typically results in separate and distinct felony charges. Though, the punishment does change slightly based on the number of previous offenses, if any.
Any person who commits drug trafficking in Virginia a:
- First Time — Will face felony charges, imprisonment for five to 40 years, and criminal fines up to $100,000; or
- Second or Subsequent Time — Will face felony charges, imprisonment for 10 to 40 years, and criminal fines up to $100,000.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with drug crimes in Virginia, it can be extremely helpful to contact an experienced Leesburg drug crimes lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have assisted many clients with various charges, including drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.