The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Ex-school board member cleared of all drug charges
By PORTSIA SMITH
A former Westmoreland County School Board member and popular pizzeria owner who was arrested on charges of distributing imitation drugs has been cleared of all charges.
Five charges against 49-year-old George “Brian” Oliff of Montross were dropped in Westmoreland County Circuit Court Friday by special prosecutor Matthew Ackley of Henrico.
Oliff, who is owner of Angelo’s Pizza and who had served on the Westmoreland County School Board for District 3 from 2003 and 2011, was arrested In May on five counts of distributing imitation drugs.
Ackley agreed with defense attorney Mark Gardner that the evidence against Oliff was not sufficient to support the charges.
The charges were based on information from an informant, who alleged that he purchased imitation drugs from Oliff on five occassions and on three other occassions from two of Oliff’s employees.
Westmoreland Sheriff C.O. Balderson said when the substance was tested, it was negative for cocaine and any other schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs.
Gardner said the informant wore a recorder and there were undercover state troopers in the restaurant at the same time as the informant. Other than the informant’s word, there was nothing to corroborate what he alleged, Gardner said.
“Neither of the recordings showed any exchange between him or Brian or any words that were incriminating,” Gardner said. “And none of the undercover officers saw an exchange.”
Gardner said there were no drugs or money ever found on his client.
Oliff’s two employees, Lois Gayle Wright, 36, and Josh R. Sanford, 31, were also cleared of the same charges on Friday.
The informant, who was already facing felony charges, was arrested again recently for grand larceny.