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Couple faces sentencing after accidental police overdoses

Two Virginia residents are facing long prison sentences after four Fredericksburg police officers suffered unintentional overdoses after coming in contact with their drugs. The 34-year-old man was convicted on two counts of possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute as well as five counts of possession of illegal drugs, while the 28-year-old woman was convicted of seven counts of possession of illegal drugs. After rendering its verdicts, jurors recommended a 19-year sentence for the man and an 11-year sentence for the woman.

Police came in contact with the couple after the woman called 911 from the Super 8 motel in Fredericksburg, saying that her husband was unable to breathe. However, the man regained consciousness while his wife was still conversing with the 911 operator. While the woman said that no assistance was necessary now, police arrived at the scene. When they knocked on the door, no one answered and police eventually forced their way in. Police said that they saw drugs in plain sight and obtained a search warrant for the hotel room.

During the search, a police officer who took photos of the scene was stricken by an accidental overdose, requiring Narcan treatment. Another police officer who handled the camera also suffered ill effects requiring hospital assistance, as did two others involved in the search. Police say that they found fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine at the scene, as well as several designer drugs and an especially potent type of fentanyl, para-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl.

Felony drug charges can have a serious impact on people's lives if a conviction is obtained. In some cases, police may have searched the area inappropriately or otherwise violated a defendant's rights. A criminal defense lawyer can work to challenge police evidence in an attempt to obtain a favorable outcome.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Long sentences suggested for couple whose drugs caused four Fredericksburg officers to overdose", Keith Epps, Dec. 21, 2018

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