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Posted February 27, 2014 | comments Leave a comment

Two defendants from motel drug raid sentenced

By Joe Beck

FRONT ROYAL -- Two of three defendants remaining from a major heroin and cocaine bust have been sentenced in Warren County Circuit Court on multiple drug-related charges.

The defendants, Adrian Darnell Edwards 19, and Davonte Laquan Starks, 23, were among 10 people arrested in late May during the execution of a search warrant in rooms at the Quality Inn Motel, 10 Commerce Ave., Front Royal, according to court documents and police reports.

Members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force seized up to $7,000 cash and heroin, cocaine and marijuana from two rooms occupied by the 10 defendants.

Edwards, whose case also involved charges transferred to Warren County from Rockingham County, received the longest prison sentence -- one year and nine months to be served out of a total of 20 years. He was also sentenced to three years supervised probation.

Starks was sentenced to 12 months in jail as a result of a probation violation involving underlying offenses of grand larceny and obtaining money by false pretenses. His drug-related convictions, the result of guilty pleas to three counts, brought five years supervised and five years unsupervised probation, plus a yet to be determined period in a detention and diversion program.

Starks also received a 15-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to three drug charges.

The sentence imposed on Starks by Judge Dennis L. Hupp fell far short of the minimum of four years in prison that assistant commonwealth's attorney Michael Fleming had sought.

"I was very surprised when the judge did what he did," Fleming said of Starks'
sentencing.

A third defendant in the case, Christopher Donte Foreman, 19, was scheduled for a plea hearing Tuesday, but his case was postponed until 2 p.m. May 5.

Starks, Edwards and Foreman were among 10 people arrested during the raid at the Quality Inn. The others, including two juveniles, were not prosecuted after law enforcement officials concluded they could not prove the charges.

Fleming said Starks, Edwards and Foreman differed from the other suspects.

"We felt they were the most culpable," Fleming said of their involvement in drug sales.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com



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