By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A Woodstock man accused of selling hundreds of pounds of marijuana will serve eight years in prison and forfeit $100,000 in money or property under a plea agreement entered Monday in U.S. District Court.
Joshua Samuel Knafel agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to distribute at least 100 kilograms of a mixture containing marijuana from January 2005 to April 19, 2012. In exchange, the U.S. attorney's office will ask for dismissal of charges of possessing a gun during drug trafficking and obstruction of justice at the sentencing hearing.
Another part of the plea agreement specifies that Knafel agrees with allegations he sold between 400 kilograms and 700 kilograms of a mixture containing marijuana, equivalent to 880 pounds to 1,540 pounds. The plea agreement ties the $100,000 forfeiture to assets "obtained directly or indirectly as a result" of the drug dealing conspiracy.
The plea agreement also includes a list of real estate and personal property that may be forfeited to the federal government as substitutes toward the money judgment.
Another part of the plea agreement requires that 12 guns and assorted ammunition and ammunition magazines be forfeited to the government.
The guns include a Glock; a .357-caliber Taurus revolver and a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun. Court documents also list real estate parcels in Shenandoah County eligible for forfeiture. They include 2.87 acres three miles north of Columbia Furnace and land in Bryce Mountain Resort.
The plea agreement also lists a 2005 Cadillac and 2004 Lincoln SUV as vehicles on the list of potential forfeitures.
A search warrant affidavit filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court describes circumstances leading up to members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force searching a home at 411 W. Spring St. Knafel had been staying at the home while under investigation for selling drugs, according to the affidavit.
An informant told police Knafel had obtained about 20 pounds of marijuana in single five-pound quantities from him from August 2010 until October 2010, the affidavit states.
Two police officers visited the Spring Street residence on Nov. 19 to check on the welfare of Cynthia Williams, Knafel's mother, according to the affidavit.
A scuffle broke out between Knafel and the officers when the defendant met them at the door, the affidavit states. It says the officers also noticed the residence smelled of burned marijuana and asked Knafel's girlfriend to identify the source of the odor.
The affidavit states that Knafel was charged with obstruction of justice, assault on a police officer and possession of marijuana as a result of the incident.
A later police search of the home's basement on Nov. 29 turned up guns, a marijuana grinder, a smoking device, an iPod, a cell phone and a laptop computer, according to a list of seized items accompanying the search warrant.