A Culpeper man will spend three years in the state penitentiary for selling drugs to a police informant. Marvin Nelson Johnson, 56, of Brandy Station, was sentenced on April 9 in the Culpeper Circuit Court for Distribution of Methadone, a schedule II controlled substance under Virginia law.
On August 29, 2011, members of the multi-jurisdiction Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Taskforce arranged a controlled purchase of the narcotic through an informant. The informant had been contacted by Johnson for the sale of the drug.
Police provided the informant with marked Virginia State Police funds to purchase the methadone pills. A close surveillance was set up to observe the exchange. Johnson sold the informant eight methadone pills for $40. The informant then immediately relinquished the narcotics to law enforcement.
Johnson pled guilty to one count of Distribution of Methadone on September 17, 2012. Sentencing was delayed to allow the District 26 Probation and Parole Office to prepare a presentence investigation report and advisory sentencing guidelines for the court to consider at sentencing. The non-mandatory guidelines recommended an active sentence range of nine months to one year and ten months of active incarceration.
In arguing for a sentence that exceeded the recommended range called for by the sentencing guidelines, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Barredo stated that Johnson's criminal record suggested a pattern of blatant disregard for the laws of the Commonwealth. Although this was Johnson's first drug-related conviction court records show Johnson having a long history of assaults, violations of protective order, and driving on a suspended or revoked license.
Johnson was sentenced to serve 20 years in state prison, with 17 years of the time suspended, giving him an active three year sentence, which is above the guidelines. The Court ordered three years of supervised probation which begins upon his release from the Department of Corrections.
"My attorneys will always seek a tough sentence for all convicted drug dealers. Drug abuse is a serious issue and those that promote that culture will not be tolerated," said Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney Megan R. Frederick.