When you make your living by selling drugs, should you accept some level of responsibility for the safety of your customers? It sounds crazy to apply that level of accountability to an illegal profession, but it’s true. If you sell drugs to someone who then dies from those drugs, you can be held responsible for their death. Such was the case recently when a Leesburg man faced life in prison for selling a 20-year old the oxycodone that led to his death.
The defendant, 48-year old George Washington Crane, avoided that mandatory minimum sentence by pleading guilty to a less serious charge.
The Washington Post reports Crane admitted to selling oxy pills to high school students and recent graduates in Loudoun County. His attorney argued, however, that he didn’t directly sell the drugs to the 20-year old man who overdosed.
“It’s a fair resolution,” remarked Crane’s attorney of the plea agreement. “He sold [oxycodone] to somebody that he had sold to many times before…He didn’t know it was going to Huff (the victim).”
The plea bargain is said to have been partly a result of Attorney General Eric Holder’s directive to stop using resources to penalize low-level drug offenders to the highest degree, saying that federal prosecutors need to cut back on those they are sending to federal prison on mandatory minimum sentences.
While Crane was facing a mandatory minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison in connection with the death of the young man, he now faces a maximum of 20 years and no mandatory minimum sentence.
Present in the courtroom at the time of his hearing were family members of the deceased, who had no remarks for the press afterwards.
Crane admitted to selling drugs from his car to young adults in the region. His supply, he said, came from people in D.C. and Baltimore. Initially, however, Crane had a legal prescription for the drug. His legal prescription led him to addiction, which eventually led him to distribution of drugs in order to support his own habit.
Drug addiction can often lead to felony drug charges, whether your drug of choice is a prescription opiate or something like heroin. This level of drug crime can result in years behind bars and carrying the label of “convicted felon” for the rest of your life.
Fortunately, not all drug charges end in conviction. Call for a criminal defense consultation on any Virginia drug charge to speak to a local attorney.