A 24-year-old Virginia man has been sentenced to more than seven years in a federal prison for dealing heroin and cocaine in the Hampton Roads area. The sentence was handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Oct. 3. A jury found the man guilty of possession of narcotics with the intention to distribute in May.
According to a press release from U.S. attorneys, the offender was taken into custody by police in Newport News in September 2018 after he was observed approaching several vehicles on 72nd Street. Authorities say the man placed items into and removed items from a white shoulder bag during exchanges with vehicle occupants. Police approached the man after he entered one of the vehicles and demonstrated behavior that was consistent with drug trafficking activities.
A search of the shoulder bag reportedly led to the discovery of a plastic bag containing a substance later identified as heroin and items commonly used to package and distribute illegal drugs. A second plastic bag containing a white powder later identified as cocaine was allegedly found on top of the shoulder bag. Police say they found about $2,000 in U.S. currency and a set of digital scales when they searched the man’s pockets. A records check revealed that the man had active warrants for drug distribution at the time of his arrest.
When presented with a set of facts like this, a criminal defense attorney may argue that police lacked the probable cause needed to conduct a warrantless search. Legal counsel may also advise a criminal defendant to eschew a jury trial and seek more lenient treatment by entering into a negotiated plea agreement with U.S. attorneys.