Man pleads guilty to eight drug offenses

By Joe Beck

FRONT ROYAL — A town resident faces what could be a long prison sentence after pleading guilty Tuesday to eight drug offenses, the majority of them involving heroin, in Warren County Circuit Court.

Brian Thomas Martin, 27, had trouble speaking the word “guilty” in response to each offense as it was read to him.

Martin’s attorney, John Bell, told Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp that Martin has trouble replying to questions when under stress.

“For the record, he’s having trouble speaking his response,” Hupp said of Martin. Hupp then recited each count, asking Martin each time if he was pleading guilty.

Martin replied yes. He entered an Alford plea to a charge of trying to deliver a drug illegally into the Warren County Jail, where he was being held at the time of the offense. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain his innocence while admitting the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Fleming described seven offenses committed by Martin from late June to August of 2013, most of them involving selling drugs to a police informant. Four of the counts involved distribution of heroin and distribution of heroin on public grounds. A fifth count was for simple possession of heroin.

Fleming also described a later charge that was filed as a result of an attempt by Martin to smuggle the prescription drug Suboxone into jail. Fleming said Martin, Martin’s mother and an unidentified juvenile discussed by telephone how to slip a strip of Suboxone to Martin during one of his appearances at the courthouse on the other drug charges.

Martin was to pick up the drug in a hallway where defendants are sometimes allowed to meet their attorneys, Fleming said.

The plot went awry when Martin did not have to meet with his attorney and remained in the courtroom, Fleming said.

A web page for Suboxone includes a statement that it is “a prescription medicine indicated for treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support.”

Martin’s mother, Charlene Maria Jordan, is scheduled for a jury trial Oct. 21 on two counts of trying to deliver drugs to a prisoner illegally.

Fleming said six other drug-related charges against Martin were dropped.

“The other charges were dropped because we had witness issues,” Fleming said in an interview after the hearing.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or