A woman in her mid-20s was recently indicted for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia. This charge carries a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Her two brothers have been heavily involved in the distribution of crack cocaine over the last decade. When they were convicted and sent to jail, they gave their dope phones to less experienced distributors who continued selling in their stead. The dope phones allowed someone to call 24/7 an order an amount of crack cocaine. The woman, who became our client, had several recorded phone calls between her brothers and her discussing how to continue running the business. She also made three controlled buys to a confidential informant.
After being indicted, the young woman reached out to Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico because of our experience in handling federal drug charges. With prior criminal convictions for contributing to the delinquency of minors and one pending criminal charge for perjury, she was in a complicated situation. Given that there was video and electronic evidence of her involvement, this was a complex case to defend. Michelle Derrico‘s experience in cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses and in evaluating the accuracy and admissibility of electronic evidence became very useful. We achieved a reduced charge carrying a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence over the course of a 6-day jury trial.