A 49-year-old Virginia man, a 42-year-old New York man, and a 28-year-old Georgia man were taken into custody on June 25 when federal agents assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration narcotics task force conducted an operation in the parking lot of a Virginia Beach Walmart store. A DEA representative was guarded when asked about the details of the operation, but he did say that the men were allegedly involved in a cocaine deal worth $280,000.
When agents moved in, the New York man is said to have attempted to flee the scene in a black SUV. Media reports indicate that the SUV dragged one law enforcement officer for several yards and ran over the foot of another before coming to a halt. Several vehicles were struck by the SUV and one of the federal agents discharged a weapon. A bystander told reporters that the agents were wearing tactical gear and carrying military-style rifles.
The three suspects were transported to a detention facility in Virginia Beach where they are being held without bond. They are all facing counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. The New York man has also been charged with attempted malicious wounding and multiple hit-and-run counts. Initial press reports do not reveal if agents recovered any drugs at the scene. However, they do reveal that $280,000 was allegedly found in the Virginia man's vehicle.
The prospect of facing serious drug charges that could result in spending years behind bars can provide a powerful motive to flee from law enforcement, but attempts to elude police rarely end in success and usually lead to even more charges. Fleeing the scene also gives police officers probable cause to conduct warrantless searches and could make the task of negotiating a plea agreement more difficult for defense attorneys. This is why attorneys with experience in this area may advise criminal suspects to cooperate with police and resist the urge to flee.