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Defendant agrees to plead guilty, forfeit $100K in drug case

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

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.


I would much rather have my money pay for a pedophile to be in prison for 8 years than this guy. A pedophile is a threat I can only control so much. I can talk to my child about drugs and then feel comfortable about the choices they make. Big picture, a pedophile is more harmful to the well being of a young human than a pot dealer but the pot dealer gets more time. Makes no sense. Legalize weed and save money as a government. Weed is so widely used by responsible people that it could be a hech of a starting point of financial smarts that could help save more money for the government and most impotant, the taxpayer. And FYI, I am not a present user of weed so my opinion is unbiased. One of the many pedophiles in one of the many recent NVD articles got probation for their first offense. What is the bigger threat?

Important not impotant I meant to say.

Looks to me they let the informant walk with selling 20 lb.s of marijuana but throw this man under the bus. I don't condone drugs, but let's get this straight folks. Looks like the police pick and choose who and where they allow drugs to be sold.
"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. "

It doesn't take a genius to see that the Drug Task Force allows drug sells to happen with their snitch informants.

Sounds like a witch hunt to me.

Wow very well said... It's so true yet so sad at the same time, I understand people breaking the laws and everything being illegal but REALLY 8 years for drugs but a multiple time sex offender has to offender has to at least offend 3 times before they see ANY jail time around here. Somethings wrong with this picture

This fella gets eight years, but the sex offenders go free....Hhhmmmm..... Granted the amount he had is signifigant, and he should serve at least some time, but I just fail to see how somebody who physically, sexually, and emotionally hurts innocent people, get no time. Meanwhile, this guy, who while he is still "hurting" people in a way, gets a sentence that doesn't even compare. The people he hurts are willing participants, he's helping them hurt themselves, he's not actually doing it himself.

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