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Virginia man pleads on drug, RICO charges

A set of criminal charges that could have resulted in a Virginia man facing a term of prison time measured in the decades has been resolved under a plea deal. As a result of the agreement, the man is looking at eight years of incarceration. The man allegedly had some links to Virginia Beach, which prompts us to mention the matter here.

At the center of the case is a 24-year-old Verona man. He appeared in Augusta County Circuit Court earlier this week and entered a plea of guilty to two counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Additionally, he pleaded guilty to single counts of racketeering, breaking and entering and obstruction of justice.

Under the agreement worked out with prosecutors, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison, 42 of which were suspended.

According to authorities, the array of charges he was facing stemmed from alleged activities that date back to 2010. It was in November of that year that prosecutors claim the man and a 21-year-old woman broke into a gas station and stole a safe containing several thousand dollars.

Officials say the man and woman were also implicated in activities involving the use of a photocopier to make counterfeit money. That's where the racketeering charge came from. Prosecutors say the bogus money was used at Verona businesses and to make illegal drug buys around the state, including in Virginia Beach.

A plea agreement is not always the strategy to pursue when mounting a criminal defense. It depends on all the factors of the case and other elements that may come into play. In this instance, it seems apparent that the plea agreement was determined by the man and his counsel to be the best outcome possible. The man has an extensive criminal record dating back to his days as a juvenile.

Source: The News Leader, "Verona man gets 8-year prison term on racketeering, drug charges," Brad Zinn, May 21, 2013