A call about a suspicious vehicle during the early morning hours of Feb. 25 led to the arrest of two Virginia men according to a report from the Abingdon Police Department. The two 22-year-old men along with an 18-year-old North Carolina woman and a 23-year-old Tennessee woman were taken into custody and transported to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority Abingdon Facility after police allegedly discovered drugs and drug paraphernalia in the white Subaru sedan.
It has been reported that Antonella Barba is facing federal charges for her alleged participation in a drug conspiracy ring in Virginia. Barba was a contestant on "American Idol" in 2007 who was voted off before the top 12 contestants were selected.
In January, Virginia authorities uncovered an alleged drug distribution ring operating out of the Rappahannock Regional Jail. The ring was discovered after drugs were located inside a prisoner's prosthetic leg.
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.
A Virginia Beach woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in a man's overdose death in 2016. Earlier this year, she pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, possession with intent to distribute a schedule I or II class drug and violating conditions of release.
A Virginia woman pleaded guilty to racketeering in Waynesboro Circuit Court on Oct. 1 for distributing 12 pounds or more of methamphetamine. The 28-year-old woman could face a prison sentence of up to 40 years, with a minimum of 5 years behind bars after her plea. A presentence report was ordered for the following week while a sentencing hearing was set for Feb. 6, 2019. During the sentencing hearing, which will take several hours, witnesses for both the prosecution and defense will present testimony related to the woman's potential prison term.
While the public perception of marijuana evolves in Virginia and nationwide, law enforcement continues to target people for marijuana possession. The political director for NORML said that 20 percent of the nation's population lives in places that have legalized the drug's recreational use. He criticized the increase in marijuana arrests as a "cruel prohibition that ruins lives". He said that the actions of law enforcement defied public attitudes and basic morality.
On Aug. 31, Virginia authorities arrested a man and a woman for allegedly possessing illegal drugs and alcohol. The defendants were taken into custody in Floyd County.
Virginia law enforcement authorities investigating illicit methamphetamine production in the state have reported that a 36-year-old man has been charged with methamphetamine possession and trafficking. The charges were filed after a substance seized during a search of the man's Dugspur residence was identified as more than 225 grams of methamphetamine by a Roanoke crime laboratory.
In Virginia and across the nation, the criminal justice system is stacked against defendants who are convicted of drug possession offenses. The outcomes of felony drug convictions are often more severe than just prison sentences, fines and supervised release; there is also a socioeconomic stigma that interferes with future job opportunities as well as obtaining educational and healthcare benefits.