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407 pounds of pot buys man 20 years

BY KEITH EPPS

A Woodbridge man who police said refused to disclose where he got more than 400 pounds of marijuana was ordered Monday to serve 20 years in prison.

Christopher Eugene Jefferson, 38, was sentenced in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to life in prison with all but 20 years suspended.

He had earlier been convicted by Judge Joseph J. Ellis of possessing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

The 20 years was the mandatory minimum under the statute under which Jefferson was convicted.

But the statute contains a caveat that allows a lesser sentence if the defendant cooperates with police regarding the supplier of the drugs. Prosecutor Matt Lowery argued that Jefferson did not cooperate, and the judge agreed. Jefferson had until sentencing to avoid the mandatory penalty.

“It’s an extremely harsh sentence,” Lowery said. “But it’s one he chose for himself.”

According to the evidence, state police received information in January about a large shipment of marijuana coming to Spotsylvania from Corona, Calif.

Police intercepted the shipment in Richmond on Jan. 29 and, with the help of a drug-sniffing dog, found 407 pounds of marijuana in large  refrigerator-like containers.

The 100 kilograms required in the statute is the equivalent of about 220 pounds. Police then set up a sting operation and allowed the shipment to continue on to Commerce Drive in Spotsylvania.

Police watched the next day as Jefferson signed for the shipment using someone else’s name and loaded it with the help of a forklift.

Jefferson was stopped shortly after he drove away from the facility and was taken into custody. He told police he was simply doing a favor for someone else and had no idea that marijuana was in the containers.

He said he was cooperative with police, but simply didn’t have the answers to what they wanted to know.

Jefferson, who operated a business in Woodbridge called King Kutz Productions, was represented by attorney John Spencer.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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