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Two plead guilty to drug charges in federal court

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

A Bladensburg, Md. man identified in court records as a major supplier of drugs to the Front Royal area for 10 years filed a guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiring to possess and sell at least one kilogram of a substance containing PCP and at least 280 grams of a substance containing crack.

Barnett Southall Dillman Jr. signed a statement of facts that recounts "a well-established business model" he used to keep a steady supply of drugs flowing to Front Royal from the backyard of his parents' Bladensburg home over many years.

A second man, Thomas Steven Lewis, also pleaded guilty to the same crime as Dillman, plus three other drug dealing counts linked to the same conspiracy.

Statements of facts accompanying the pleas submitted by Dillman and Lewis described them as members "of an informal and loose association of more than a dozen individuals who would join together to obtain these drugs for their own use and redistribution."

Dillman's operation came under increasing scrutiny by law enforcement between October 2009 and his arrest in November 2011, according to the online court document. During that period, several law enforcement agencies made seven controlled buys of drugs in amounts ranging in amounts ranging from 3.2 grams of crack to three items totaling 45 grams of PCP.

The government would have entered a trial with more than 18 witnesses available to testify about the conspiracy, according to online court records.

"These witnesses would testify to their knowledge and participation in traveling alone and with others to meet Dillman at 4915 Newton Street in Prince George's County in Maryland for the purpose of obtaining crack and PCP," court records stated.

The statement of facts traces the origins of the conspiracy back to around 2001 when Dillman took over drug dealing operations in Front Royal from a close friend who had been shot in the face and died five years later from complications stemming from the injuries.

Lewis was 15 years old at the time he first met Dillman with a co-conspirator in late 2008, according to the statement of facts.

"Following that first distribution, Lewis undertook a course of dealing directly with Dillman, traveling alone and with other consprators, until Lewis was arrested on juvenile charges of robbery and grand larceny on Oct. 7, 2009," the court record states.

Before his arrest, Lewis obtained PCP in amounts of one ounce from Dillman at least 40 times, according to the statement of facts.

Lewis remained in custody until Sept, 16, 2011 and within two weeks was back obtaining PCP and crack from Dillman, the court record states.

On Oct. 12, 2011, Lewis was again arrested after a traffic accident and subsequent investigation in which he was found to be possessing PCP, according to the court record.


Maybe I choose my friends with insufficient care, but I have never even met anyone who has ever met anyone who thinks that this 'war on drugs' makes a particle of sense.

Something in the Puritan soul is committed to making and keeping people miserable, even when it is not for their own good. The War on Drugs is an attempt by force, by the state, at mass behavior modification. Alcohol and nicotine are, by some part of their very nature, social. This is what distinguishes them from narcotic drugs that, while always hyped as allowing voyages of the imagination, never quite succeed in getting these voyages under way.

Step outside the inner cities of America where, thanks in part to the heroic war on drugs, pretty much anything goes and you can find yourself confronted by the friendly and insidious personality of the authoritarian. At a bar at the top of a ski lift in Aspen, Colorado, I was denied a gin and tonic because, 'at this altitude, sir, it would be twice as strong.' Hot dog! Bring it over!

Official anti-drug policy is futile at best, and corrupt at worst, resulting in contempt for unenforceable laws and in the manipulation of policemen and even entire nations by incredibly rich criminals. Every known civil liberty is mortgaged to a 'war on drugs' that, in city after city, has meant police collusion with the drug dealers at some level.

With 20,000 different chemicals being used in our food alone the threat is that, under pressure from drug companies, and from consumers who think that there must be a cure for everything, our society will poison itself in the search for a good and comfortable life.

The largest single change for the better in U.S. foreign policy, and one that could be accomplished simply by an act of political will, would be the abandonment of the so-called War on Drugs.

At the local level, especially in small rural towns, the sheriff would be relieved of fabricating mountains out of molehills whenever 'conspiracies' of personal use abusers are discovered then described as threats to the safety of the community.

"Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it; and they will exercise it most undoubtedly, in popular governments, under pretense of public safety." - Daniel Webster

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