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Woodstock man charged with plotting to deal drugs, tamper with witness

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- Authorities say a Woodstock man now in federal custody plotted with other people to deal marijuana in the region as early as 2007.

A grand jury in U.S. District Court in Harrisonsburg handed down a three-count indictment on Thursday accusing Joshua Samuel Knafel of conspiring with others to distribute 100 kilograms -- approximately 220 pounds -- or more of a mixture containing marijuana. The indictment also charges Knafel with carrying a firearm while plotting with others to deal drugs in the region.

Knafel committed the two crimes as early as May 2007 through April 19, 2012, according to the indictment.

Authorities also accuse Knafel of attempting to corruptly persuade another person, by encouraging that individual to withhold information from special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as other law enforcement agencies, with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the communications to those officers of information related to a federal criminal narcotics offense, according to the indictment.

The court unsealed the indictment Monday after authorities arrested Knafel. The defendant appeared in the court for an arraignment hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge James G. Welsh. Knafel pleaded not guilty to the three counts. Welsh scheduled a bond hearing for April 30 and a jury trial for June 26.

The U.S. Attorney's office also asks the court to order that Knafel, if convicted, forfeit property such as any firearms used, or proceeds derived from the commission of the alleged crimes. The notice of forfeiture lists as property a 2005 Cadillac and a 2004 Lincoln SUV. The document also identifies Knafel as part owner of property in Woodstock and another in Bryce Mountain Resort.

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