Final Member of Crack Cocaine Conspiracy Sentenced

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HARRISONBURG, Va.— A Florida man, who along with eight other individuals conspired to sell large quantities of crack cocaine in the Winchester, Va. area, was sentenced this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg.

Ethan Edward Jackson, 26, of Winchester, Va. and Clewiston, Fl., pled guilty in January 2014 to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine. This morning in District Court, Jackson was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

“These defendants operated a sophisticated illegal business importing dangerous drugs into our community,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “We must do all we can to punish those who profit from the addiction of others. We must also pursue education and treatment programs to reduce the demand for illegal drugs. A comprehensive approach is necessary in our continuing struggle to stem the flow of illegal drugs into our communities.”

In all, nine individuals have been convicted of trafficking large amounts of crack cocaine from Florida to the Winchester area for distribution. The crack cocaine brought into Winchester was sold in usually $50-$250 quantities and was sold to both end-users and other distributors. Members of the conspiracy made multiple runs to Florida per month and often operated out of hotels in the Winchester area. They traveled together, stayed in hotel rooms near one another and provided drugs to each other to

further the conspiracy. One co-conspirator, Jeremiah Dion McMillan, was also transporting pressed heroin – heroin that had been compressed into pill form to resemble prescription pills – and prescription pills to the area and selling them here. Another co-conspirator, Johnny Lewis Hunter, transported and distributed powder cocaine in addition to crack cocaine from Florida.

Previously sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy are Kareem Lomax Robinson, 204 months; Bobby Clyde Stewart Jr., 180 months; Jeremiah Dion McMillian, 132 months; Johnny Lewis Hunter, 120 months; Lacy Leann Shuck, 120 months; Andrew James Thomas, 120 months; Wendal Anthony Ferguson, 96 months; Susan Ann Ruppenthal, 24 months.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, which includes the Virginia State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Task Force includes law enforcement from the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Warren and Page as well as the cities and towns of Winchester, Front Royal and Strasburg. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Wright prosecuted the case for the United States.