Could have gotten 10 years; 'substantial assistance provided to authorities' cited in motion to go below guidelines
By Joe Beck
The hard life of Crystal Dawn Smith got harder Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski sentenced her to seven years in prison and five years probation for her role in an illegal crack ring in Winchester.
Urbanski imposed the sentence after a federal prosecutor asked that Smith receive a reduced sentence for cooperating with authorities in their investigation into the drug ring.
Smith could have received at least 10 years in prison under federal law, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson A. Hoffman cited "substantial assistance provided to law enforcement authorities" in filing a motion for sentencing below federal guidelines.
Smith, who pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiring to distribute at least 280 grams of crack, is the first of six defendants in the case to be sentenced. The others also have pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced at hearings in December and January.
A statement of facts signed by Smith in July states that she joined David "D" Alan Dock, Samuel "Fat Sam" Lee Fields, Wayne "Worm" Brown, Jason Matthew Whiting and Jamol Alon Darling in a ring that sold large amounts of crack in Winchester and other areas from November 2009 through mid-January 2012.
The statement of facts identifies Dock as "the primary source of cocaine base and powder cocaine" sold by the ring. He obtained the drugs on regular trips to Washington, D.C. and Maryland and gave it to Brown, Smith, Fields, Whiting and Darling for sale in and around Winchester, according to the statement of facts. The statement of facts also lists New Jersey as another source of crack for the ring.
Dock made delivery trips to Winchester several times a week and sometimes daily while storing the drugs at Smith's residence and other places around Winchester, according to the statement of facts. It also says that she helped Dock sell crack out of her residence, hotel rooms and other sites throughout the Winchester area. The document also states that Brown sold a total of 60 grams of crack to confidential informants in Washington, D.C. during controlled drug purchases supervised by law enforcement officials.
A sentencing memorandum filed by Smith's defense attorney, W. Kent Bowers of Harrisonburg, describes her childhood as "tumultuous" and the source "of self-destructive tendencies and hopelessness" that dogged Smith after she reached adulthood.
Bowers described her parents as plagued with "drug problems" which, combined with a "likely genetic predisposition to substance abuse, certainly were major contributing factors in the drug dependence which led her to the dire situation in which she now finds herself."
Bowers said Smith began using drugs "in earnest" after marrying in 2006 a violent alcoholic who physically abused her to the point in which one beating required hospitalization.
"Crystal is a heroin addict and her participation in the criminal enterprise was motivated by her insatiable appetite for this vile drug, which she used as often as eight times a day at a total daily cost of $200," Bowers said.
Bowers argued there was no evidence that she ever sold drugs before she met Dock in 2009 and began "a close personal relationship" with her co-defendant.
In sentencing Smith, Urbanski agreed to Bowers's request that she serve her sentence at the woman's prison in Alderson, W.Va.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org