Another person arrested in a federal undercover sting targeting drug trafficking in Shenandoah County has pleaded guilty to playing a role in the operation.
Jeremy Craig Mays pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on Feb. 7 to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a substance containing 1,000 grams or more of heroin. Mays also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm, a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun, while participating in a drug-trafficking crime specified in court documents as possession with intent to distribute heroin.
A federal grand jury had charged Mays and other co-defendants in an indictment handed up in November. Mays entered the pleas to charges included in a more recent indictment as part of an agreement reached between his defense counsel, Erin Trodden, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson Hoffman.
Mays’ drug conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and five years of supervised probation upon release. Mays’ firearm charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison with a mandatory minimum term of five years, plus a fine of up to $250,000.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon accepted Mays’ pleas at a Feb. 7 hearing and scheduled his sentencing for July 16.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Huber submitted a statement of facts in the case signed by Mays and Trodden. The statement of facts notes that Mays served as an active member of a conspiracy that distributed large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine in Shenandoah County from early 2016 until late 2018. Mays distributed both drugs but mainly heroin, the statement notes.
Mays’ primary sources of heroin were in Baltimore, Maryland. Mays and other members of the conspiracy traveled to the Baltimore area, obtained heroin from their sources and brought the drugs back to Shenandoah County. Mays and others then distributed heroin to users and sub-distributors, the statement notes. Before Mays and co-conspirators redistributed the heroin, they would cut the drug with other substances to increase the volume and make more money, according to the statement.
Law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on a room at a hotel in Shenandoah County on Sept. 29, 2017, where Mays and other members of the conspiracy were present, the statement notes. Agents seized approximately 80 grams of heroin, a smaller amount of methamphetamine and two handguns – a Glock 9mm and a .25 caliber Galesi, according to the statement.
Mays waived his Miranda rights and agreed to speak to law enforcement agents, according to the statement. Mays admitted to investigators that he obtained and distributed more than 1,000 grams of heroin and 1 to 2 ounces of methamphetamine in 2017, the statement reads. Mays also admitted he used heroin to buy the two firearms found during his arrest, according to the statement.