Judge convicts Baltimore man of dealing heroin, cocaine

Laquan Royster

FRONT ROYAL – A Maryland man must serve jail time for dealing heroin and cocaine in Warren County in 2016.

Laquan Davontae Royster pleaded guilty in Warren County Circuit Court on Thursday to committing one count of distribution of heroin and two counts of distribution of cocaine in August and September 2016.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepted a plea agreement between Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Fleming and Royster’s lawyer John Bell that called for the defendant to plead guilty to the two charges. In exchange for Royster’s pleas, Hupp granted the commonwealth’s motion to dismiss the defendant’s remaining single counts of cocaine distribution, heroin distribution and conspiracy to distribute heroin.

The agreement also called for a punishment of 15 years total with 13 years and 6 months suspended. Hupp postponed sentencing until October at Bell’s request to allow Royster to handle a number of obligations. Royster remains free on bond until his sentencing date.

Parties came to the agreement after prosecutors ran into delays with securing witnesses to testify on laboratory results, Fleming said. The commonwealth prepared to ask the court to dismiss all the counts and then seek new indictments as the charges approached the speedy trial deadline, Bell explained. In the alternative, parties reached the agreement so they could “get it locked down and off the docket,” Fleming said.

The prosecutor provided a summary of the evidence the commonwealth planned to present had the case gone to trial. For the charge of distribution of heroin, Fleming said that a confidential informant working with authorities bought cocaine from a man named “Rick,” later identified as Royster, on Aug. 26, 2016 in the 400 block of Viscose Avenue. The confidential informant met with Royster on Sept. 1, 2016, at the same location and bought drugs from the defendant, Fleming said.