By Joe Beck -- email@example.com
HARRISONBURG -- A Maryland man believed by law enforcement officials to be a longtime supplier of drugs to the Front Royal area has been charged in U.S. District Court with selling PCP and crack cocaine.
The defendant, Barnett Southall Dillman Jr. of Bladensburg, Md. is accused of selling at least 280 grams of crack and at least 1,000 grams of PCP to customers in Front Royal and other parts of western Virginia since 2000.
A criminal complaint filed against Southall by William Metcalf, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, identifies Dillman as a major drug supplier, who, in addition to dealing crack and PCP, also sold base cocaine and Ecstasy.
An affidavit filed by Metcalf describes a lengthy investigation that was often hampered by criminal allies of Dillman in Front Royal.
The affidavit says federal and state law enforcement officials found it "difficult" to use witnesses and informants "as a result of their fear."
The affidavit continues: "The most consistent concern revealed has been that Dillman was very connected to numerous known and unknown users and dealers in Front Royal ... and made aware of all enforcement activity."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force finally managed to find some informants that allowed them to purchase PCP, crack and marijuana from Dillman over the last several months, according to the affidavit.
The next five pages of Metcalf's affidavit detail a series of drug transactions between the informants and Dillman. Some of the transactions involved trading up to 15 firearms for crack and other drugs. Others were simple cash transactions of up to $1,600.
The affidavit also describes an investigation that was fraught with danger for the informants.
"Recently, Dillman stated ... that he had been informed by others in Front Royal that (an informant) was working with law enforcement," the affidavit states. "In addition Dillman stated he would shoot (the informant) if he arrived at Dillman's residence attempting to purchase narcotics."
On Sept. 15, an informant overdosed on PCP obtained two days earlier from Dillman, "which resulted in serious bodily injury and hospitalization" at the Winchester Medical Center, the affidavit states.
The informant was released from the hospital on Sept. 21, according to the affidavit. The informant, who had previously been convicted of selling drugs, had been working with law enforcement to obtain a sentence reduction, the affidavit said.
Some of the informants, identified as former dealers or drug users themselves, are described in the affidavit as making numerous trips from Front Royal to Dillman's home in Maryland and returning back to Front Royal with drugs for resale in the town.
On Nov. 15, an informant, under the supervision of a law enforcement official, bought an ounce of cocaine and an ounce of PCP from Dillman, according to the affidavit. The informant was wearing a secret recording device and carrying $1,600 to buy the drugs, according to the affidavit. The informant later told law enforcement officers that Dillman appeared to be carrying $20,000 in cash at the time of the transaction.