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Man enters plea for selling drugs

ALEXANDRIA—A 38-year-old Locust Grove man pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to conspiring to distribute oxycodone, in a case that involved transactions arranged near his wife’s day care center, according to a joint news release from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted Ralph Caldwell’s plea, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente and Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Caldwell was indicted on May 8 by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of oxycodone.

He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on Sept. 5.

According to court records, from January 2011 to March 2014, Caldwell distributed oxycodone to customers throughout Prince William County, the joint statement from federal officials said. As part of the conspiracy, Caldwell and others used the area near the Little Angels Day Care, a children’s day care center in Dumfries, to sell oxycodone and arrange transactions.

Caldwell told one of his co-conspirators—who was both the parent of a child being supervised at the day care and one of Caldwell’s suppliers—that payment for child care services could be rendered in the form of a negotiated amount of oxycodone, according to the joint statement. Caldwell’s wife owned and operated the day care.

As part of the statement of facts entered with the plea, Caldwell admitted that he conspired to distribute oxycodone and that he sold oxycodone to a confidential informant on three separate occasions in February at locations within Dumfries and Triangle.

The Prince William County Police Department assisted with the investigation.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lowell and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi are prosecuting the case.