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11-year prison sentence for Richmond area drug sales

A 30-year-old out-of-state man was given an 11-year prison sentence for his involvement in a Richmond, Virginia, area drug trafficking case. The drug-related offenses were said to include trafficking in both marijuana and cocaine.

Prosecutors claimed the defendant was part of a large-scale drug operation that involved the transport of hundreds of pounds of marijuana into Henrico County every few weeks. The investigators used wiretaps to record hundreds of hours of conversations that allegedly involved drug transactions of both cocaine and marijuana.

The investigation involved both state police and county law enforcement agents. Prosecutors claimed the marijuana portion of the operation garnered earnings amounting to millions of dollars.

A number of other defendants charged as part of the drug ring have already been sentenced. In one instance, a 38-year-old man received a 45-year sentence, with all but eight years of it suspended A second man received a sentence of 40 years of incarceration, with 30 years of it suspended. This means these two men could be out of jail in eight and ten years, respectively.

The investigation began in 2010, and information developed through surveillance and the wiretaps was used to set up controlled buys of drugs using informants, according to prosecutors.

The long prison sentences handed out for these drug offenses underscores the importance of defendants facing such charges to retain experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible after charges are filed. This will allow the defendants to ensure all possible avenues of defense are adequately explored, including the legality of wiretaps and other surveillance techniques. If evidence was gathered illegally, it can be suppressed and can undermine greatly the prosecution's case.

Source: TimesDispatch.com, "N.Y. man gets 11 years in area drug operation" Bill McKelway, Jul. 18, 2013

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