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Virginia woman gets all but 2 years of drug sentence suspended

A Virginia woman arrested in a drug raid last May is the last of the three people nabbed by police in that house in Salem to be convicted. A man and his son were also convicted. The arrests were the result of a six-month operation by local police. Officers from the Virginia State Police as well as an area task force also participated in the raid.

The defendant, whom prosecutors said was in charge of the meth-making operation, was observed by law enforcement the day before the raid buying products used to manufacture meth. The commonwealth attorney for Salem said law enforcement had learned of the woman through other cases. When they raided the home, he said officers found her cooking meth.

The woman was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture and manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing meth, and possessing ingredients needed to make the drug. She received a sentence of 10 years apiece for the conspiracy and manufacturing crimes and two years for each of the possession charges. A Salem judge has suspended all but six months on each count, which means she'll serve no more than two years of a 24-year sentence.

Despite the fact that the ringleader of the operation was sentenced to 24 years, while her two cohorts were sentenced to 16 and 16 and a half years, her two years in prison is just about half what they will serve -- four and four and a half years.

Sentencing in drug crimes can depend on a number of variables. Plea agreements reached between defense attorneys and prosecutors can sharply cut down prison time, as can judges' decisions. That's why anyone faced with drug charges should never try to go through the legal system on their own. Experienced criminal attorneys can work to help try to get the best possible outcome for their clients.

Source: The Roanoke Times, "Leader of Salem meth-making lab to serve two years" Ralph Berrier, Mar. 27, 2014

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