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Man pleads guilty to drug offense in Virginia

A 42-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession with intent to distribute in Virginia.

With his plea, the man admitted to serving as a supplier of synthetic drugs, also known as bath salts, to dealers in the Central Virginia area. A federal grand jury indicted him in July 2012, and he entered his plea to a single count of conspiracy to possess with the intention of distributing and distributing a controlled substance analogue.

The man said he sold the drugs to a dealer who lived in Augusta County, Virginia, transporting them from an adjacent state. She already entered a guilty plea to the same federal charge.

When he is sentenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, located in Harrisonburg, the man will find out whether he will spend the maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a fine that could reach $1 million.

The U.S. attorney for the region said the man put the safety of Virginians at risk when he brought the synthetic drugs into the region. He said the drugs had caused an uptick in hospital visits as well as violence by the users.

The investigation into the drug dealing was led by the Augusta County Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force.

The length of sentence the man could face shows how serious the federal government considers such violations of law. It is not known if this man has a prior record of drug dealing, but if he does, the judge will consider a stiffer penalty than a first-time offender would receive.

Source: Augusta Free Press, "Synthetic drug supplier pleads guilty," Nov. 6, 2012

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