Seven Plead Guilty to Crack Cocaine ChargesPosted: Updated:
The NBC29 newsroom received the following press release from the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia:
SEVEN PLEAD GUILTY TO CRACK DISTRIBUTION
All Face Possible Prison Time
A group of seven individuals charged with dealing crack cocaine in the Belmont area of Charlottesville pled guilty this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville to conspiracy charges.
On Monday and Tuesday in District Court, Charles Edward Gibson, 23, Rashard Richards, 18 and Reagan Richards, 31, all of Charlottesville, each pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. The defendants each face a mandatory 10 year prison sentence and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Also on Monday and Tuesday in District Court, Laura Ann Carson, 49, Rebecca Lee Brannock, 23, Montana Mawyer, 23 and Teressa Sims, 38, all of Charlottesville, each pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.
Gibson and Rashard Richards face a mandatory 20 year sentence each face a mandatory 10 year prison sentence and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison, while Reagan Richards faces a 20 year mandatory prison term.
"The individuals in court today were responsible for bringing large amounts of crack cocaine into the Belmont neighborhood and distributing it throughout the City of Charlottesville and surrounding counties." United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today.
"This case shows how drugs impact communities of all types and ensnare people at all levels of society. Those of us who work in law enforcement will continue to identify and apprehend those who profit from the sale of illegal drugs, wherever those people operate. We must also work to provide viable prevention and treatment programs to communities impacted by drugs. We must combine enforcement efforts with effective prevention if we are to successfully combat this persistent problem and achieve true community safety."
This week, the defendants admitted that between June 2010 and October 2011, their organization was responsible for distributing multiple kilograms of crack cocaine throughout the City of Charlottesville and surrounding counties. Reagan Richards, the head of the conspiracy, had a highly organized distribution network.
The conspiracy had a dedicated cell phone that customers knew to call when seeking to obtain crack cocaine. The females in the conspiracy were largely subordinates and oftentimes held drugs, drug proceeds and engaged in direct hand to hand sales themselves. Additionally, their residences were used as a base of operations and members of the conspiracy would often store drugs and drug proceeds at these locations.
The investigation of the case was conducted by police officers from the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle working with the Jefferson Area Drug Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Ron Huber and Special Assistant United States Attorneys Joe Platania and Elliott Casey are prosecuting the case for the United States.