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Virginia man linked to overdose death in Nags Head pleads guilty to drug and firearm charges

A Norfolk, Virginia man pleaded guilty May 14 to conspiring to distribute fentanyl and heroin and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court documents, Christopher McKinley Barnes, 36, sold heroin and fentanyl from late 2016 until he was arrested on April 16, 2019. During that time, Barnes sold a total of over a kilogram of heroin in the Hampton Roads area and to users from the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. “In July 2018, he sold a mixture of heroin and fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of a victim in Nags Head,” stated the release. “During a search of the defendant’s residence, officers recovered heroin and a loaded handgun, among other items.”

Barnes is the fourth and final member of the conspiracy to plead guilty, according to the release. Deshawn Jones, 29, of Portsmouth, Virginia; James Boone, 48, of Eure, North Carolina; and Grey Miller, 32, of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina; pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison in the Eastern District of Virginia. “The group was responsible for selling fentanyl and heroin to individuals in Portsmouth, Norfolk, and the Outer Banks,” stated the release. “At least two fatal overdoses and several non-fatal overdoses have been linked to the group.”

Barnes is scheduled to be sentenced on October 8 and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life. “Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties,” stated the release. “A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division; Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police; and Phil Webster, Chief of the Nags Head Police Department, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Bosse and William B. Jackson are prosecuting the case.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. “OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks,” stated the release.

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